38th National Spring Conference on the Environment
Chemicals Regulation: REACHing For TSCA Reform
Date: June 11, 2010
Enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) is the primary means by which the United States regulates commercial chemicals. Although intended to be ambitious in scope, TSCA has proven to be a poor regulatory framework and generally is considered inadequate. In the 33 years since its enactment, advances in toxicology and analytical chemistry have raised new questions about the effects of certain chemicals on human health and the environment. These questions have left the public anxious and confused about the safety of myriad different products. Technology seems to have outstripped the regulatory regime.
There is a growing national consensus that the United States needs to modernize its chemical management law. In recent years, individual states have entered what they perceive to be a regulatory vacuum, raising the prospect of an inconsistent regulatory patchwork. The European Union’s recently enacted REACH initiative has dramatically expanded the regulatory compliance obligations for United States companies doing business in the EU. Moreover, the Obama Administration has identified risk-based chemical regulation as one of its environmental priorities. While affirming the Administration’s commitment to green innovation, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson also has called on Congress to grant the Agency new enforcement authority and has proposed a new funding mechanism for generating the information necessary to assess chemical safety. Recent high-profile Congressional hearings also underscore the momentum for change. It is very likely that both Houses of Congress will take up the issue of TSCA reform in the next turn.
This 38th National Spring Conference on the Environment addresses the question of chemical management regulation. Featuring prominent federal, state, and private-sector experts at the center of the emerging proposals for TSCA reform, the day-long conference will provide a wide-ranging discussion about the unprecedented opportunities and challenges inherent in crafting a national regulatory framework capable of ensuring public and environmental safety while also promoting green-chemistry innovation. The conference will consider the legal implications of regulatory change and will focus on the key policy choices at the heart of the reform process.
Keynote presentations from the primary initiator of TSCA and the Senior U.S. EPA Policy Advisor responsible for the Agency’s current TSCA efforts will add unique and timely perspectives to this critical set of discussions.
Rebecca M. Bratspies • Sara K. Orr
Blake A. Biles
This conference is hosted by the University of Maryland of Maryland School of Law and takes place in the Ceremonial Moot Court Room at the Nathan Patz Law Center, 500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland.