New and aggressive legislative efforts at the federal and state level are seeking to amend longstanding policies with respect to management of new and existing chemicals regulations. To a large extent, the focus is on "modernizing" the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a thirty year old statute that has served to regulate the chemical industry into the modern era. Numerous advocacy groups believe that TSCA has outlived its usefulness and has failed to address new and emerging public health risks associated with chemicals of concern. Industry, having longstanding TSCA compliance practices, believes that TSCA has largely fulfilled its promise and may only require "modernization" in a few aspects. The widely held view is that changes in chemicals management are coming which will impact the coatings industry. One only needs to consider the changes that have taken hold in other global markets to understand that alternative approaches have the potential to place significant burdens on the chemical industry without real health, safety or environmental benefits to the public
Against this backdrop, again in 2010 and 2011, the ACA Board of Directors affirms the need to have ACA engaged in the expected policy debates on chemicals management. ACA , through its Chemicals Management Workgroup and Product Stewardship Committee, is charged with developing the necessary technical basis for effective and constructive changes to the national chemicals management policy, and support efforts to advance domestic consensus policies for chemicals management globally when such opportunities are identified. This will be accomplished by taking a leadership role in highlighting specific technical issues related to chemicals management policy affecting “downstream users” of chemicals, emphasizing the paint industry's understanding of key concepts likely to require expanded efforts, including but not limited to exposure and risk assessment information collection and assessment methods, chemical safety standards, and other chemical use-related activities. An initial federal legislative policy for chemicals management was approved by the ACA Executive Committee (January 2010), and is used by ACA staff and industry representatives to inform federal policymakers on the industry’s concerns. Some specific areas the ACA is emphasizing in current and developing legislative and regulatory proposals to revise chemicals management practices include:
1. MANAGING THE EXPANDED SCOPE OF TSCA - The paint industry will need to address the call from the public and other critical stakeholders to have everyone in the value chain involved in assessing the risks and instilling effective risk management practices for diverse uses of chemicals. Clear exemptions, based on an acknowledgement of limited public health and environmental risks, need to be established.
2. DEFINING INDUSTRY DATA REQUIREMENTS - Far from a settled issue, ongoing voluntary testing initiatives on commercial chemicals is being weighed against many advocates expressed need for more comprehensive testing requirements to meet a rigorous new safety standard.
3. COMPELLING EPA TO ESTABLISH A PRIORITIZING MECHANISM - Most agree EPA should target its resources on high risk or high volume chemicals, but how such a prioritization should occur is contentious.
4. DEFINING CHEMICAL SAFETY PRACTICES - Industry efforts to establish "safe use" practices for its chemical products could be defined and offered for consideration by policymakers in an effort to gain some legitimate relief for the coatings industry. These might include use and exposure controls, personal protective equipment and waste management methods appropriate for the product.
5. MAINTAINING CBI/PUBLIC INFORMATION CONTROLS - A critical consideration for any industry that markets intellectual property, maintaining confidential business information (CBI) is essential. Current TSCA regulations offer such protection, but these have been increasingly criticized in the new policy debates.
With respect to state efforts to enact new chemicals management policies (including the so-called “green chemistry” legislation and related regulations aimed at chemicals used in children’s products or certain categories of consumer products), ACA has integrated relevant aspects of the federal policy measures outlined above along with specific issues and concerns relating to the impracticality of product formulation controls being administered by state agencies. In doing so, ACA is reinforcing the need for a strong pre-emptive federal policy that will restore consumer confidence in chemicals management and the safety of consumer products formulated with chemicals.
ACA will use this web page to provide specific information on emerging legislative and regulatory proposals, to increase industry awareness of the political environment receptive to aggressive policy changes, and to secure needed industry support to communicate industry concerns and alternative approaches that support continued innovation and economic growth in the United States.