The manufacturing, use, and participation in the growing supply chain for chemical solutions is helping to address the most significant challenges facing our nation—from aerospace and public safety, to healthcare, agriculture, transportation, and clean water. There are increasing regulatory, legislative, and legal pressures from all levels of government to manage chemicals in a more sustainable and safe manner, in order to limit risk to both human health and the environment. The chemical industry is a cornerstone of America’s economy, supporting a quarter of the U.S. GDP and countless jobs in the across its value chain.
The Chamber launched the Chemistry Solutions Working Group as a platform for companies across our broad membership to advocate for commonsense approaches to chemicals policy that support business, environmental, economic, and public health goals.
- TSCA Risk Assessment, Revisions, and Implementation: The Toxic Substances Control (TSCA) Program focuses on developing risk evaluations of industrial chemicals to comply with requirements of the TSCA law. It is essential for stakeholders in the business sector to assess and update the program to fit the economy’s current needs. The program should provide high-quality, science-based evidence with realistic economic solutions in mind.
- IRIS: The Integrated Risk Information System’s (IRIS) purpose is to identify and assess the health hazards of chemicals found in the environment. Each IRIS assessment is an important source of toxicity information used by the EPA, state and local health agencies, other federal agencies, and international health organizations. Due to the broad scope of the program and similarity to TSCA, there is confusion and inconsistency in the assessment of chemicals.
- PFAS and CERCLA and hazardous substance designation for PFAS and other chemicals: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in thousands of products such as car batteries, adhesives, medical devices and more. When defined as a “hazardous substance,” such products are at risk under CERCLA also known as “the Superfund Law.” If a substance is deemed hazardous, it gives EPA the authority to hold businesses 100% liable for cleanup costs at designated sites. This regulation could have damaging economic effects.
- Asbestos: Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in rock and soil that is frequently used in construction, automobile and manufactured goods because of its fiber strength and heat resistance. While usually found in homes, schools and workplaces, it can also be found in water and air. The EPA has limited and banned the varied use of asbestos through different regulations since 1973. In 2019, EPA issued a final rule ensuring that discontinued asbestos products cannot be reintroduced to commerce without an Agency evaluation.
- Ethylene Oxide: A flammable gas with a sweet odor, ethylene oxide is used to make a range of products such as antifreeze, textiles, adhesives as well as sterilizing medical supplies and fumigating agriculture. Factory workers are required to wear protective gear, including respirators, when handling the substance. Though factory workers are at the greatest risk of exposure, the general population may be exposed to ethylene oxide through uncontrolled industrial emissions, tobacco smoke and the use of products sterilized with ethylene oxide.