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Chemical Management

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Scott Openshaw
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Many important factors and issues are involved in robust chemical management in the U.S. and across the world. Governments worldwide establish chemical safety guidelines and regulations, and the United Nations and other international organizations work to promote safe use of chemical products globally. ACC partners with other chemical trade associations through the International Council of Chemical Associations.

In the U.S., the primary chemical management law is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was updated in 2016 by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA). Those amendments to TSCA passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. The regulation is implemented and enforced by EPA and applies to new and existing chemicals in commerce.

To help ensure that the law is implemented the way that Congress intended, ACC created the Center for Chemical Safety. Chemical specific consortia under this program serve as a scientific, technical and advocacy hub that assists ACC members and non-members to navigate the TSCA risk evaluation process. Stakeholder participation helps ensure EPA has sufficient information to conduct thorough evaluations based on hazard, use, and exposure.

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A modern and robust chemical management system doesn’t just focus on the chemicals themselves; it also takes a risk-based look at the effects those substances may have on human health and the environment. One example is studying and testing for potential effects of chemicals on the endocrine system and how certain exposures to specific chemicals may be a cause for concern. Science-based risk assessment helps scientists determine the difference between the levels of exposure that can produce adverse effects, and the typical exposure levels experienced by humans and wildlife.

To help inform public policies and government research practices, ACC sponsors two primary scientific initiatives to enhance understanding of chemical safety: the Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI), which promotes innovation in the methods and technologies used for assessing chemical safety, and the Center for Advancing Risk Assessment Science and Policy (ARASP), that focuses on advancing knowledge about how chemicals interact with the body and the relationship between chemical exposure and safety.

Since scientific understanding is always evolving, a regulatory system that can adapt to advances in science and technology will help promote the safe use of the essential, innovative products made possible by chemistry, as well as maintain American competitiveness to keep jobs here at home.

If implemented properly, TSCA will allow the U.S. to keep pace with scientific advancements and ensure that chemical products are safe for intended use—while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.

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