Cal Dooley, new head of the chemical industry lobby group, the American Chemistry Council, seems to have pulled the industry’s head out of the proverbial sand. Just a year ago the industry adamantly opposed changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Now the industry actively supports “modernization” of the law and has made TSCA reform one of its top priorities.
That’s progress, but it does nothing to guarantee a positive outcome.
Dooley chooses his words carefully in his July 6 op-ed in The Hill.
Some of them we agree with:
“Today, the EPA cannot make a formal determination on whether or not a chemical is safe for its intended use. That must change.”
And, “…a review and revisions of existing law, the Toxics Substances Control Act, should be made a priority this year.”
But Dooley’s op-ed is just part of a stepped up industry campaign to frame the debate in terms that benefit his members. At this point the chemical giants are wrapping themselves in platitudes, embracing the “latest advances in science and technology” and “building trust in the federal government.”
Most of what Dooley spouts provides no insight into what the chemical industry will be fighting for when legislation starts moving. Some key missing pieces are:
How would the industry set priorities for regulation among the thousands of chemicals in widespread use today? Biomonitoring? Production volume? Toxicity?
Does industry support a firm safety standard of no harm to the fetus, infant and young child from chemical exposures during sensitive periods of development?
Do they support public on-line access to all health and safety studies?
Do they support unencumbered authority for EPA to demand any study from chemical manufacturers that is needed to evaluate a chemical?
EWG and many other state and national groups have been quite open on where they stand on these and a host of other critical questions.
I’m glad the industry is for “modernization.”
Now we need to know what that really means.