Retailers, Chemical Users Weigh in on TSCA Reform

May 6 — Retailers and companies that purchase chemicals are among the many lobbyists weighing in on a possible update of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The more than 100 organizations that lobbied Congress about TSCA reform during the first quarter of 2016 include Boeing Co., Disney Worldwide Services Inc., Ford Motor Co., the General Motors Co., Hanesbrands Inc., Nike Inc. and the Target Corp., according to lobbying disclosure forms.

Many trade associations representing retailers and companies that purchase chemicals to make goods, commonly called downstream users, lobbied on TSCA during the same quarter. These include the American Apparel & Footwear Association, American Coatings Association, Association of Global Automakers Inc., Auto Care Association, International Sleep Products Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Toy Industry Association.

These organizations are weighing in on two bills: the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) which would narrowly amend TSCA and passed 398-1 in June 2015, and the more sweeping TSCA overhaul that passed unanimously in the Senate in December, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Originally numbered S. 697, the Senate bill passed as an amendment to H.R. 2576.

There is no deal yet, but House and Senate lawmakers told Bloomberg BNA April 28 they continue to make progress combining the two bills into a single piece of legislation that could be released as early as the week of May 9 (40 CRR 489, 5/2/16).

Both bills address, in different ways, several issues that could affect retailers and downstream users including:

  •  the extent and timing of federal preemption of state regulations of chemicals;
  •  the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to get chemical data from companies; and
  •  the scope of EPA's authority to regulate products, called articles, containing chemicals.


Federal Preemption Key Issue

The Toy Industry Association held a TSCA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in April.

Asked about its priorities for TSCA reform, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) provided Bloomberg BNA an e-mail May 6 saying TSCA has been outdated for decades.

“An updated federal chemical program with strong preemptive language continues to be the toy industry’s highest priority,” the association said.

“TIA is hopeful that strong preemptive language will be maintained in a final bill. This would curtail unnecessary state-specific regulatory programs that result in complex and costly compliance procedures without increasing the safety of children’s products. Ultimately, product safety will be enhanced by a single, federal standard that applies across all 50 states rather than a conflicting and confusing patchwork of state laws,” the toy association said.

Coatings Association

The American Coatings Association, which represents companies making paints and car finishes, highlighted in January reasons it supports TSCA reform.

The bill, the coatings association said, “makes important improvements to the current TSCA law,” including:

  •  strengthening the law's safety standard,
  •  giving the EPA more authority to obtain information it needs to evaluate chemicals,
  •  protecting confidential business information for industries that provide information to EPA and
  •  creating strong federal preemption provisions.


The American Alliance for Innovation is the broadest industry coalition lobbying on TSCA reform. The dozens of trade associations it represents include edible oil, frozen food, can makers, and building material manufacturers.

In a Feb. 29 letter to key House and Senate legislators, the alliance listed its priorities including limiting EPA's regulation of articles to situations in which the chemicals released posed a health or environmental concern only if there is reasonable potential for exposure to the chemical.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at