Obama Administration and EPA Seeks Upgrade of Chemical Regulations

The Obama administration says it is moving to update the regulation of thousands of chemicals used in U.S. consumer products and in workplaces.

Both public health advocates and chemical industry representatives welcomed the plan, the latter because they see it as a way to end moves by U.S. states and cities to regulate chemicals on their own and to reassure worried consumers, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to replace the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was passed in 1976 and which the newspaper said is seen as so ineffective, it did not allow the government to ban asbestos, a known carcinogen, decades ago.

The Inquirer said under the provisions of the proposed legislation, chemical makers would need to share more risk information about both existing products and new creations, while their ability to withhold data on claims of trade secrets would be cut.

“We can create a system that will result in an enhanced level of consumer confidence,” American Chemistry Council President Calvin Dooley told the newspaper.

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