Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Safe Chemicals Act of 2010

One of the reasons I am a lawyer and not, say, a medical doctor or research scientist is that my skill with chemistry peaked out right around learning Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23). When it came to balancing equations, things started to break poorly. But, I am one of those non-scientist science geeks that likes to toss around words like "valence number" and "entropy" whenever possible. Entropy is a good one that I use as an excuse for not putting my laundry where it belongs.

Despite my lack of bona fides in the field, I do help companies import and export chemicals. Hence, I was interested to see the introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010. This is essentially a re-write of the current Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The proposed law flips much of the responsibility for proving chemicals to be safe from the current EPA to the companies involved in the production or sale of the merchandise.

Rather than regurgitate (also a nice technical term) my own summary of the bill, here is a link to a summary prepared by its sponsor, Senator Lautenberg. The text of the bill itself is available here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Larry -

Based on your summary, this sounds like a good idea. It should be the responsibility of producers and importers to prove the safety of their products. The public doesn't want to pay for a giant bureaucracy to test everything that crosses the border - we'd be building a bridge of ships from Boston to Tokyo if the govt. had to test everything. Those who benefit from the sale of goods should be required to prove their safety. Otherwise, there'd be no need for Customs to practice "risk management" - it would be "Customs will get to it in turn - even if it takes ten years."

Your faithful Customs retiree.