New US Federal Chemicals Policy Proposals
A number of proposals are under discussion at the federal level in the US, some of which are listed here. Further detail, including proposed text, can be found at the Library of Congress.
It is important to note that under the US political system, most proposed legislation does not become law.
Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 would ensure the safe use of cosmetics by requiring FDA approval for ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products, establishing stricter labeling requirements, and providing FDA with the authority to order recalls of dangerous products.
Secure Water Facilities Act and Secure Chemical Facilities Act
The Secure Water Facilities Act (S. 3598) and the Secure Chemical Facilities Act (S. 3599) would require chemical and water facilities to assess their vulnerability to attack, develop a plan to address those vulnerabilities and respond to an emergency, and provide worker-training to carry out the plan. The Acts would also require facilities using dangerous chemicals to evaluate whether the facility could reduce the consequences of an attack by, for example, using a safer chemical or process and implement those safer measures if it has been classified as one of the highest-risk facilities, implementation of safer measures is feasible, and implementation would not increase risk overall by shifting risk to another location. In addition, the Acts would allow communities to have a role in ensuring local facilities comply with these regulations and would protect sensitive security information from disclosure, while ensuring information sharing between state and local governments, first-responders, and workers.
Similar legislation, the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2868, was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2009.
BPA Consumer Information Act
The BPA Consumer Information Act requires a warning on the label of any food container that is composed, in whole or in part, of bisphenol A or could release bisphenol A into food.
Environmental Design of Electrical Equipment Act
The Environmental Design of Electrical Equipment Act amends the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to establish uniform national standards for the use of lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in electroindustry products manufactured after July 1, 2010.
Decabromine Elimination and Control Act of 2009
The Decabromine Elimination and Control Act of 2009 would prohibit the production, distribution, import, or export of decaBDE, decaBDE mixtures, or decaBDE products, beginning January 1, 2013, and require companies to use safer alternatives. The bill would also require any entity engaged in prohibited activity to report to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act of 2009
H.R. 4190 and S. 2828
The Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act calls on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to research the effects of chemicals on the human endocrine system, particularly among children. The legislation would establish an independent panel of scientists to oversee research to identify endocrine disruptors and develop a prioritized list of chemicals to investigate. If the panel found even minimal concern about a chemical, the legislation would require the relevant federal agency to report to Congress and propose next steps within six months.
BPA-Free Kids Act of 2009
H.R. 4456 and S. 753
The BPA-Free Kids Act would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of children’s food and beverage containers composed of bisphenol A (BPA). The Act also requires the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences to undertake a five-year research initiative to increase understanding of the health effects of exposure to bisphenol A in all age groups and in pregnant women.
Household Product Labeling Act of 2009
Ban Poisonous Additives Act
H.R. 1523 and S. 593
The Ban Poisonous Additives Act would ban the use of a container that is composed of bisphenol A or that can release bisphenol A into food. The Act also directs the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to periodically review substances listed in federal regulations and generally recognized as safe and requires any substances that are shown by new scientific evidence to cause reproductive or developmental toxicity in humans or animals to be banned or otherwise restricted.
Green Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2008
The Green Chemistry Research and Development Act, widely supported by the chemical industry, seeks to invigorate American focus on green chemistry by providing federal resources for research, development, and technology transfer. Should the Act become law, funds from the National Science Foundation, National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency would be coordinated to finance the program.
Kid Safe Chemicals Act of 2008
The Kid Safe Act of 2008 is a bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the exposure of children, workers, and consumers to toxic chemical substances. The Act would put the onus on industry to prove chemicals used in commerce are safe rather than on government to prove they are hazardous. The bill outlines a time line by which chemicals on the market would be evaluated for their safety. Those which indicate a potential for harm would be placed on a priority list by EPA for further action. Up to 200 new chemicals could be added to the priority list annually thereafter.