Chemistry in a Time of Transition and COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic and recent election have strained our society and economy in ways not previously seen, so it is important for us to recognize positive stories and people who are doing their part to help our country and the world become safer, cleaner and healthier.
In that spirit, our industry would like to thank Administrator Andrew Wheeler and the dedicated staff at EPA—both political staff and civil servants—for all they have accomplished in order to help the agency achieve its mission of protecting human health and the environment, including through the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). We also look forward to working with the Biden Administration and nominee Michael S. Regan if he is confirmed by the Senate.
The continued implementation of the 2016 amendments to TSCA, in a way that provides the regulated community and the public with certainty and confidence, is critical to our industry’s ability to produce countless products essential to our daily lives, including the safe storage and delivery of the vaccines necessary to overcome COVID-19. Many of those products have also been critical during the pandemic. Those include personal protective gear for front line workers; chemical biocides and disinfectants that eliminate bacteria and viruses; and plastic packaging materials that help prevent the contamination of food and other consumer products. Countless other chemical innovations will be essential to emissions reductions and renewable energy solutions needed to meet climate goals and thousands of other technologies that will enable a more sustainable future.
The TSCA amendments were the result of years of negotiations between lawmakers of both parties and stakeholders from industry, environment, public health, animal rights and labor organizations. The legislation, passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama, directs EPA to review the safety of all chemicals in commerce. It was a watershed moment during a time of political gridlock, and the updated law continues to play a role in helping our industry protect the most vulnerable people and places in America.
As EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety Alexandra Dunn recently commented, the agency’s efforts have ensured greater awareness of the chemicals being used in our communities, more extensive safeguards for health and the environment and a significant reduction in toxic pollution.
Not everyone has agreed with EPA’s approach, some have even challenged the framework rules in court. Those regulations largely held up under judicial scrutiny, which is validation that the agency has adhered to the letter and spirit of the law. We appreciate Administrator Wheeler’s commitment to adherence to the law, transparent implementation and steady progress, as well as the countless hours that EPA staff have put in since 2016 to achieve important milestones.
We look forward to working with Mr. Regan, if he is confirmed by the Senate. The need for communication between regulators and industry has never been greater.