One Step Closer to Improved Chemical Management: TSCA Reform Can Be Good for Manufacturers

chemical management
The first of three proposed TSCA reform bills passed committee and made it to the Senate floor. While a vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, manufacturers can prepare for impending new legislation with a chemical management system.
Image Source: Flickr CC user The U.S. Army

No one will argue that the Toxic Substance Control Act is long overdue for reform. Passed in 1976, the legislation is almost 40 years old. I wasn’t even born yet! Given its age, who’s surprised that there are multiple reform bills currently circulating in Congress?

Late last month, we passed the first step in overhauling the TSCA. One of two Senate proposals, the Udall-Vitter TSCA Reform Bill, was approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee and sent to the Senate floor. While a full vote has yet to be scheduled, it looks like the pressure is on to reform chemical management. Earlier this month, the bill picked up several new bipartisan sponsors, bringing the total to 36. The swelling support sends a clear message to Senate leadership that a vote needs to be added to the agenda in the near future.

The Future of TSCA

But what does TSCA reform mean for chemical manufacturers? It’s safe to assume that reform is going to happen. In addition to this one, there’s another competing Senate bill as well as a proposal in the House. Something is going to pass, so it’s just a matter of learning what shape the final legislation will take. The marked up bill that came out of committee has seen alterations since its first introduction in March. A Senate floor vote is also guaranteed to propose amendments to the legislation before it’s passed.

For now, however, here are some points of the Udall-Vitter reform bill that chemical manufacturers should be aware of:

  • If the EPA doesn’t make a safety assessment of a high-priority chemical within a set amount of time, states are allowed to seek waivers that would allow them to regulate the substance.
  • While states can implement the same regulations as those by federal agencies, only one of the two parties can collect penalties. It cannot be both, sparing manufacturers from being hit twice for the same violation.
  • Significant new use rules (SNURs) would only apply to chemicals if the exposure potential is high enough to warrant notification.
  • If a chemical substance is shown to pose a significant hazard to bioorganisms, the EPA has to enact a ban to the fullest extent that is practical.
  • If a chemical is found not to meet the safety standard and new restrictions must be applied, replacement parts manufactured before the effective date are exempt.

Establish Effective Chemical Management Practices in Anticipation of Changes

It’s a lot of details, and more are sure to come. That doesn’t mean it’s an insurmountable task. Manufacturers and laboratories can prepare for the impending changes by adopting a best practices digital chemical management system. Using such technology has the following advantages:

  • With barcode tracking, companies can have a handle on their chemical inventory. If a substance gets added to the restricted or banned list, you can easily search to see if you have it. Not only that, but you can look up its location in your laboratory in preparation for disposal.
  • Chemical inventory is linked to digital copies of safety data sheets. If a substance gets SNURs, safety information can be updated with a few clicks. This ensures that all of your employees are handling the chemical in an appropriate and safe manner.
  • If a chemical gets marked as a high-priority substance by the EPA, you can flag it in the system so you can be aware that its safety status and/or handling rules may change.

While it’s definitely overdue, TSCA reform is sure to bring changes to how manufacturers and companies handle chemical substances. But the transition need not be rocky. Firms can take action by adopting a digital chemical management system to manage both their inventory and stay abreast of changes to safety handling.

Are you interested in discovering how a digital chemical management system can help your company through the transition promised by TSCA reform? Visit our website today to learn more about the valuable features offered with BIOVIA CISPro.

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