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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 12, 2015.
Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act
This bill amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to revise the regulation of chemicals.
A safety standard is established to ensure with reasonable certainty that no harm to human health or the environment will result from exposure to a chemical under the intended or reasonable foreseeable conditions of use. The standard includes the protection of potentially exposed or susceptible populations. The standard does not take cost or other non-risk factors into consideration.
The bill expands the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to require the development of new information about a chemical.
By specified deadlines, the EPA must designate a certain number of existing chemicals as high or low priority for safety assessments and determinations and conduct risk-based safety assessments and determinations for high priority chemicals. Low-priority designations are subject to judicial review.
The EPA must prohibit or restrict the manufacture, processing, use, distribution, or disposal of a new chemical, or a significant new use of an existing chemical, if the chemical will not likely meet the safety standard, or additional information is necessary to make a safety determination.
If a chemical does not meet the safety standard, the EPA must impose restrictions to assure that it meets the standard, or ban or phase out the chemical when the safety standard cannot be met with the application of those restrictions.
The EPA may declare a proposed rule effective upon publication to protect the public interest when certain activities involving chemicals are likely to result in a significant risk of serious or widespread injury to health or the environment.
The EPA must: (1) list all forms of asbestos as high-priority chemicals; and (2) expedite identification, assessment, and action on persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic chemicals.
Confidential business information claims to protect information related to chemicals must be substantiated by manufacturers or processors and reviewed by the EPA. The bill sets forth the types of information that are protected from disclosure and the duration of such protection.
The EPA must require manufacturers of chemical substances to pay fees to defray the cost of administering this bill.
The EPA must operate Regional Disease Cluster Information and Response Centers and Regional Disease Cluster Information and Response Teams and may award grants for technical assistance for the investigation and mitigation of a community-based disease cluster. A "disease cluster" means the occurrence of a greater-than-expected number of cases of a particular disease within a group of individuals, a geographic area, or a period of time.