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2021 Year in Review

Innovating to Create the Chemical Industry of the Future

As the country continued to wrestle with the pandemic and broad sustainability challenges in 2021, ACC and our members were on the front lines with innovations to help meet those challenges. At the same time, we stepped up to meet the evolving expectations of stakeholders to do more to enhance the environmental and safety profile of the industry

With the inauguration of President Biden, came a new approach to TSCA implementation and chemical regulation. ACC worked to educate and develop inroads with the new administration. We successfully advanced priority risk evaluations, including two of the first-ever Manufacturer-Requested Risk Evaluations, and navigated the first-ever TSCA Test Orders. 

Like many, we had hoped that some of the trade policies and tariffs of the last administration would be rolled back. That didn’t happen. But we still made progress on ACC trade priorities, and are pleased to see a more predictable environment for international trade.

We faced increasing pressure from states and localities. We were successful in securing passage of model plastics legislation in 5 states and helping defeat numerous pieces of legislation that failed to meet the test of sound science.

The chemistry industry has redoubled its commitments to safety and environmental stewardship. Members approved recommendations that emerged from a top to bottom review of Responsible Care, including a new performance goal and accountability measures. We dug deep into the challenge of climate change to inform strategies that will help accelerate our members’ progress toward a lower carbon emissions future. We made notable progress in the other sustainability priority areas of air, circularity, product safety and water.

Our industry is at a pivot point. There is increased pressure for regulation and legislation that could restrict the products of chemistry. Yet our industry is ground zero for innovating the products and technologies that can lead to a more sustainable future.

The year ahead likely will be as challenging as the last. And ACC will continue to help our members navigate the changing landscape and transition to a cleaner, safer chemical industry for tomorrow.

Chris Jahn Signature
Chris Jahn
President & Chief Executive Officer

American Chemistry Council

Two Employees Reviewing Plans At Facility

The Next Generation of Responsible Care®

For decades, Responsible Care® has been the cornerstone of our industry’s commitment to product safety and sustainability.  In 2020, ACC initiated a strategic review of the program as part of our efforts to continually improve.  After months of work, the Board approved enhancements to the Responsible Care® Process Safety Code and the Responsible Care® Security Code.

The beefed-up Process Safety Code emphasizes leadership, accountability and culture, and is aimed at driving performance improvement.  The Code is action-oriented and identifies expectations for both senior leaders and facility leaders. It calls on them to demonstrate with both words and actions the importance of process safety.

The enhanced Responsible Care® Security Code increases the emphasis on cybersecurity and provides more clarity on expectations and desired outcomes. New management practices related to crisis and emergency planning have also been added.

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Responsible Care® by the Numbers Infographic
Woman Worker at Screens in Chemical Facility

Deploying a Full-Court Press on Chemical Management

Advancing product safety, sustainability and regulation based on sound science and innovation are the backbone of ACC.

We are deploying robust advocacy, education and scientific tools to secure long-term stability and predictability in TSCA implementation and chemical management at the state, federal and international levels.

ACC is working to develop a collaborative relationship with the new team at EPA, including meeting regularly on TSCA implementation to clarify Agency positions, highlight issues and identify workable solutions.  We are actively leading the engagement on nine risk evaluations for TSCA high priority substances and are also leading efforts on two of the first-ever Manufacturer Requested Risk Evaluations.

We also launched several new testing consortia to successfully navigate implementation of the first-ever Test Orders under the new TSCA, including efforts to improve EPA’s policy regarding certain accredited laboratory practices.  We continue to build on this work by exploring opportunities for more information sharing with EPA, scientific experts, other federal agencies and value chain stakeholders to refine risk evaluation exposure scenarios, industrial hygiene education and more.

EPA’s new chemical program has continued to face increased scrutiny, which has exacerbated delays in the review process. Despite this, we worked with EPA to complete publication of approaches for evaluating four critical chemical categories, which is expected to cover dozens of chemicals.

ACC worked to advance exemplary practices and improve EPA’s processes for reporting of chemical data by developing a Summary of Key Lessons Learned, Issues and Recommendations putting forward approaches to improve their Tiered Data Reporting Proposal. We also launched a blog series aimed at sharing constructive recommendations to improve federal agency chemical management and TSCA implementation.

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Chemical Products

of all state legislative threats were successfully amended or prevented.

ACC manages over 100 self-funded, chemical product groups that focus on specific chemistries and technologies.  Here are examples of some of the initiatives we’ve undertaken to advocate for key chemistries:

  • Advanced Silicones TSCA Manufacturer Requested Risk Evaluation with publication of draft scoping document.
  • Launched Silicones environmental monitoring program in China which is a critical element of the joint industry and Chinese government assessment of key Silicones chemistry.
  • Secured critical 3-year extension of federal Biocides/Antimicrobial Registration Review process. Absent this effort a large portion of antimicrobial products would not have been allowed on the market.
Flame Retardants
  • Enacted model legislation for regulating flame retardants in Nevada, including key exemptions for electronics and inclusion of key TSCA safety provisions.
  • Secured delay and potential reconsideration of proposed Canadian ban on a critical flame retardant used in aerospace, autos, and electronics.
  • Secured recognition in new New York chemical regulatory program that the state will not regulate all flame retardants as a class.
Ethylene Oxide
  • Petition granted for reconsideration of inappropriate use of EO IRIS value and the willingness to utilize alternative approaches and values in federal air regulations.
  • Secured enactment of model definition of PFAS in Delaware state legislation which will also support federal advocacy.
  • Secured adoption of model fire-fighting foam legislation in an additional 5 states.
  • Secured favorable overall provisions, including ACC preferred approaches, in the National Defense Authorization Act and Infrastructure legislation (Pending).
  • Secured new EPA Roadmap and EPA Interagency Actions that is largely consistent with ACC positions including recognition that not all PFAS are the same and utilization of existing regulatory processes.
  • Published critical, cutting-edge science demonstrating that fluoropolymers meet the established OECD safety definition for “polymers of low concern”.
  • Launched partnership with EPA and other stakeholders to demonstrate the safety of fluoropolymers at end of life, including evaluation of primary destruction technologies.
  • Launched new Water and Health Advisory Council, a true third-party entity that will bring water and public health perspectives to assessment and regulation of chemicals in drinking water.
  • Launched two third-party independent Science Panels to assess fluoro chemistry. The final assessment and recommendations of one of the Science Panels on “Grouping/Categorization” is expected by the end of 2021.  This will position the voice of the science community on this complex chemistry and will be critical for state and federal advocacy efforts in 2022.
  • Launched cutting-edge microplastics science research to improve scientific methods of analysis and environmental detection.

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Chemists in Lab Conducting Research

LRI: Catalyzing Innovations in Chemical Safety Sciences

LRI supports research to advance cutting edge methods to promote more efficient and accurate risk-based chemical safety decisions. LRI’s 2021 research, published in leading scientific journals, focused on improving exposure modeling, accelerating new chemical safety testing technologies, and advancing approaches to integrate mode of action and exposure to more precisely assess potential risks from chemicals. In addition, with the modernization of TSCA, exposure assessments have gained new prominence in all aspects of TSCA — new chemical evaluations, prioritization, scoping conditions of use and detailed risk evaluations. To meet ACC members’ needs to keep pace with these exposure methods and tools, the LRI enrolled over 250 individuals from ACC member companies and ACC departments into the LRI designed “Exposure Assessment 101” webinar training course.

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Grounded Recycled Pellets in Hand

Plastics in the Crossfire

The politics around plastics heated up with the change of administration, and the Plastics Division and ACC Federal Affairs worked overtime to advance sustainability initiatives and beat back extremist proposals.

  • We pushed forward on advanced recycling initiatives. 14 states have now enacted our model legislation and 5 new states were adopted in 2021 alone.
  • We developed model federal plastics legislation to advance plastics circularity and recycling. The proposal would establish a 30 percent recycled plastic standard in plastic packaging by 2030; regulate advanced recycling technologies to support their growth and help eliminate plastic waste; organize stakeholders to develop minimum standards for recycling; and call on the National Academy of Sciences to study the GHG impact of all materials, including plastics.
  • We expanded our advocacy reach by enlisting the support of the value chain.
  • We entered into an MOU with Oak Ridge National Labs to advance circularity in the automotive industry.

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Solar Farm at Dusk

Urging Bold Climate Policies

ACC has long supported market-based carbon price policies as part of our climate platform.  In 2021, we issued a set of policy recommendations to enable dramatic reductions in GHG emissions.  We called on Congress to:

  • Increase government investment and scientific resources to develop and deploy low emissions technologies in the manufacturing sector
  • Adopt transparent, predictable, technology- and revenue-neutral, market-based, economy-wide carbon price signals; and
  • Encourage adoptions of emissions-avoiding solutions and technologies throughout the economy to achieve significant emissions savings.

Several of the ACC’s climate policy recommendations were included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden in November 2021, as well as the House-passed Build Back Better Act, which remained pending heading into 2022.

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Page 1 of ACC Policy Recommendations for a Lower Emissions Future
Sunburst Coming Through Trees

Leading Toward a Sustainable Future

The chemistry industry has been at the forefront of innovating to solve the most serious sustainability challenges for over a century.  That’s our history. Our future is even more exciting. ACC is advancing initiatives to support our members’ efforts to become more sustainable throughout their operations, even as they continue to develop and produce technologies that are essential to our world’s sustainable future.

ACC’s Board approved five areas of sustainability focus for ACC where we’ve already achieving progress. 
  • Climate: Conducting a lower emissions landscape analysis
  • Water: Helping members to identify at-risk watersheds and water body risk assessments
  • Product Safety: Updating the Responsible Care Product Safety Code and building out a Product Safety Innovation Program
  • Air: Launching a groundbreaking air monitoring initiative in Harris County
  • Circularity: Undertaking efforts to increase recycling and promote advanced recycling technologies through the Plastics Division

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FOSSI Black Woman Student with Afro

FOSSI: Big Numbers. Big Impact.

In late 2020, ACC partnered with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Chemours and the HBCU Week Foundation to create the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) and it’s off to an exciting and impactful start.

We exceeded our initial goals and raised $7.2 million to fund $40,000 scholarships for each of the 151 FOSSI recipients, who are attending 26 HBCUs and majoring in 17 STEM disciplines.

raised by 43 organizations to fund scholarships.
awarded to each FOSSI scholar.
scholarships awarded to the 2021 inaugural FOSSI class

ACC and our partners are taking FOSSI even farther with our new ambitious goal of funding 1,000 scholarships through 2025.  We’re grateful to report that, to date, sponsors have invested almost $15 million which will support 316 scholars. We look forward to building on FOSSI with next year’s launch of the Emerging Leaders Pilot Program.

FOSSI has the potential to transform our industry by creating a pipeline of skilled professionals that is diverse and inclusive.

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FOSSI Founding Partners
One Hundred Dollar Bill

Federal and State Affairs Advances Tax Fix

Tax policies aimed at the business community and chemical industry have been ACC’s top legislative priorities.

We welcomed passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is important to our country and will create opportunity for our industry.  The bill, however, imposed new Superfund Taxes on 42 chemicals – the very items needed for infrastructure development.  ACC Federal Affairs was successful in working with key senators to moderate the impact of the reinstated Superfund Tax on our members’ competitiveness, as well as to introduce legislation to repeal this tax, which will have far-reaching consequences for our country’s economy.  We also worked with House members to secure introduction of the Ethylene is Essential for Chemistry and Manufacturing Act, which would exempt ethylene from the new Superfund taxes.

In addition, ACC successfully opposed congressional efforts to raise corporate and international taxes, which would have dramatically raised the tax burden on the industry, and in some respects would have singled out the industry to ultimate detriment of U.S. competitiveness, U.S. consumers who rely on our products, U.S. jobs and U.S. investment.   

Our Political Mobilization team deployed digital grassroots campaigns to urge opposition to the Superfund tax and a proposed plastics tax, resulting in thousands of letters to targeted members of Congress. We also carried out a seven-figure corporate tax campaign through the Coalition for American Jobs, an industry coalition chaired by ACC.

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Cargo Ship Setting Off to Sea

Trade Progress Despite Tensions

ACC Federal Affairs made progress on key trade priorities, and trade certainty increased even though the full-scale reboot on trade that many had hoped for didn’t materialize with the new Administration.

We engaged with Congress and the Administration, and our advocacy contributed to key successes.  Most notably:

  • The Administration reached agreement with the EU on bilateral steel and aluminum trade, including the EU lifting the harmful retaliatory tariffs impacting the transatlantic chemical industry.
  • The Administration resolved the 16-year Boeing-Airbus dispute, which removed the threat of tariffs on chemicals and plastics.
  • The Administration reached agreement with Vietnam on illegal lumber and currency issues.
  • The Administration agreed to prioritize standards and regulatory practice issues with India.
  • The Administration also launched a narrow product exclusion process for products subject to the Chinese tariffs.  We continue to press the Administration to implement a broad product exclusion that covers all products, including chemicals and plastics.

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U.S. Chemicals Trade by the Numbers infographic
Colorful Freight Train at Dusk

Freight Rail Progress

Access to safe, competitive and reliable freight rail service is vital to the chemistry industry, American consumers and the nation’s economy.  We pursed these priorities with the new administration, and we’re pleased that President Biden’s Executive Order on Competition specifically urged the Surface Transportation Board to adopt reforms to increase access to competitive rail service.  We will continue to advance our goals as the STB takes up competitive access and rail reform in 2022.

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Years have passed since the Surface Transportation Board has updated its freight rail policies.
ACC Streamlined Website

Streamlined ACC Website

ACC launched a new flagship website aimed at streamlining and organizing it to deliver what audiences value most.

The effort to re-design AmericanChemistry.com was nearly two years in the making. We have created an externally focused site that now has a clear, streamlined navigation enabling users to quickly find the content they are looking for. The redesigned site showcases an increased emphasis on advocacy, sustainability, and safety as well as clearly positioning ACC as the steward of a responsible, sustainable, and valuable industry.

The improved structure of our new site was driven by data and geared toward our key audiences including: policymakers and their staff, regulators, as well as companies across the chemical industry value chain. Our stakeholders can now easily maneuver through the site to find and share information will easily understanding what drives our work here at ACC.

4 New Features:
  1. Micro-Shareable Content
  2. Better Connecting Chemistries to End Products
  3. Dynamic Charts & Data Display
  4. Streamlined Navigation

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Trade Semi-Truck on Highway at Sunset

Happy Anniversary CHEMTREC

CHEMTREC 50th Anniversary Logo

Back in 1971, The Manufacturing Chemists’ Association – now ACC – created CHEMTREC to provide timely information during chemical and hazardous materials incidents.  50 years later, CHEMTREC’s world-leading call center operates on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, providing emergency response information wherever hazardous materials are manufactured, stored, transported or used. CHEMTREC has built a solid and valuable relationship with various stakeholders over the years which includes the US Department of Transportation who has recognized their public service mission to the nation’s first responder community. CHEMTREC now also offers a suite of services aimed at streamlining the process of shipping and transporting hazardous materials to give customers peace of mind and professional support.

CHEMTREC Safety Data Sheet services allow customers to access, manage and share SDS libraries – its specialists have access to 7 million Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and are able to connect with interpreters fluent in more than 240 languages.

CHEMTREC has been a valuable partner in the helping ensure the safe handling and transportation of hazardous materials.  Congratulations, CHEMTREC.  ACC looks forward to valuable support for the next 50 years!

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On behalf of ACC, thank you for your continued support.

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