The American Chemistry Council (ACC) wants to work with its Canadian counterparts to promote a “North American model” of regulation to other countries considering enhancing their chemicals management systems.
Speaking at the GlobalChem industry conference in Washington, DC recently, ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley said if the TSCA(Toxic Substances Control Act) modernisation bill is passed and implemented, it would be a “gold standard internationally”. One, he added, that countries like Brazil, India, China and Taiwan should be encouraged to adopt.
Mr Dooley told delegates he hopes the bill – which he “cautiously expects” will be passed by Memorial Day (30 May) – will introduce a more efficient and less bureaucratic approach, while still meeting environmental, health and safety needs and leading to greater innovation.
He went on to describe the EU REACH system as “a good effort”, adding that the US has the benefit of learning from its “inefficiencies”.
But Mr Dooley’s prepared remarks, published by ACC beforehand, were more critical of REACH. These described it as something “which many agree has failed in more ways than it has succeeded. Fortunately, we have taken the lessons learned from REACH and have made sure we do not repeat its mistakes.”
Commenting on Mr Dooley’s remarks, Echa’s Cooperation Director Andreas Herdina said he hoped the US could draw “valuable conclusions from our experience”.
Assuming the TSCA reform law is passed, Mr Dooley told his audience, industry must make sure that it is implemented in “a way that meets our primary objective: that we have a chemicals management system in the US that will be the gold standard internationally.” At the moment countries such as the Republic of Korea have adopted a “REACH” like system of chemicals management.
To achieve this, he said companies will need to commit to provide the information and data that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) needs to make safety determinations. For its part, he said the agency should only ask for the information it needs.
Mr Dooley also said it is important to capitalise on advances in risk assessment to do a better job of evaluating chemical safety. This includes:
- using weight-of-evidence approaches:
- incorporating exposure and threshold models; and
- investigating modes of action.
The EPA’s assessment work, he said, should focus on priority chemicals that are in commerce – noting that Canada had addressed around 4,000 substances in its chemicals management plan. The fact that there are 85,000 chemicals listed on the TSCA inventory continues to frustrate industry, he said, because it believes the actual number in commerce is far lower, and ACC hopes the EPA will “reset” it.
Adapted from ‘Chemical Watch’, 24th March 2016