Regulation of Chemical Risks: Lessons for Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act from Canada and the European Union

117 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014 Last revised: 14 Jul 2015

See all articles by Adam D. K. Abelkop

Adam D. K. Abelkop

University of San Francisco School of Law; Stanford Law School; Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Date Written: October 7, 2014

Abstract

The United States Congress is considering reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. This Article compares recent reforms in Europe and Canada in order to draw lessons for TSCA reform. In 2006, the European Union enacted the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation while Canada used existing authority under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) of 1999 to initiate the 2006 Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). Focusing on the tens of thousands of industrial chemicals now in use in the US, we offer several suggestions for TSCA reform based on the European and Canadian experiences. Congress should consider applying the Canadian approach to prioritization, where high-priority chemicals are identified for assessment and regulation based on limited data and modeling/screening exercises. To facilitate more expedient safety determinations, TSCA reform legislation should separate risk assessment from risk management decisions. Under either approach, improved chemicals governance will require significant new public and private investments in safety information and deliberations. Finally, Congress should consider applying European-style chemical registration to high-priority substances, placing the burden of generating data and proving the safety of specific uses on industry. In summary, an industry obligation to register high-priority chemicals and defend the safety of specific uses would bring new life to TSCA, enhance public health and environmental protection, and buttress public confidence in federal regulation of industrial chemicals.

Keywords: chemicals, risk, hazard, risk assessment, risk management, environmental law, comparative law, TSCA, Toxic Substances Control Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, European Union

Suggested Citation

Abelkop, Adam David Kimmell and Graham, John, Regulation of Chemical Risks: Lessons for Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act from Canada and the European Union (October 7, 2014). 32 Pace Environmental Law Review 108 (2015) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2499309 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2499309

Adam David Kimmell Abelkop (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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