Legislation to Modernize Federal Standards for Toxic Chemicals Passes the Senate

Senator Carper, a cosponsor of the bill, championed key revisions to better protect public health and environment in bill updating toxic chemicals safety regulations

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement after the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bill to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, passed the Senate by voice vote. The bill, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.), and cosponsored by Sen. Carper, would modernize TSCA, an outdated law enacted nearly four decades ago that fails to adequately protect the public from harmful chemicals, and imposed outdated regulatory procedures that stifled business innovation and job creation. 

“Bipartisanship is hard to come by in the Senate these days, especially on environmental issues. Today, the Senate took a historic step toward reforming our toxics laws to better serve both the public and businesses in Delaware and around the country. After too many years of failure, both sides of the aisle have worked together to compromise on policy, without ever compromising their principles,” Senator Carper said. “For nearly 40 years, a broken regulatory system for toxic substances has failed to adequately protect Americans from risks to their health, and hasn’t worked for business either. We’ve been negotiating TSCA reform for six years, and in the Senate there’s been a lot of give and take by both sides of the aisle to get to today’s vote. The final product is a testament to a robust and transparent committee process, and a textbook example of how we should legislate. And it’s a proposal that’s come leaps and bounds from its predecessor in its protections for public health and the environment.

“Communication, compromise and collaboration have made all the difference in this effort, and enabled Republicans and Democrats to find a way forward on a very challenging, but necessary, reform of our nation’s chemical safety law. I thank Senator Udall for his leadership, determination, and tireless efforts alongside Senator Vitter and Senator Inhofe to produce this bipartisan piece of legislation. Together we’ve made it to first and goal, and I look forward to reconciling this bill passed with the House and getting it across the finish line.”

Over the past few years, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to overhaul TSCA. This newest bipartisan proposal, however, contains critical revisions Sen. Carper has worked hard to include so that the new framework will offer Delawareans and all Americans the confidence they deserve that the products they use every day don’t contain unsafe chemicals. Sen. Carper cosponsored the legislation after working closely with the sponsors for more than a year to secure enhanced protections for public health and the environment. The provisions secured by Sen. Carper will better protect public health and our environment, while still offering a regulatory process that is reasonable and manageable for businesses, and their inclusion provided a key breakthrough that allowed the bill to recieve bipartisan support and move forward through the legislative process. ‎