Myth vs. Fact: First Panel of “Strengthening Public Health Protections by Addressing Toxic Chemical Threats”
July 31, 2013
Myth: Could Prop 65 be crippled here? - Chairman Barbara Boxer (paraphrased)
Priorities would prevent any enforcement of Prop 65. - Mr. Michael Troncoso, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General, California (paraphrased)
Fact: Many of the chemicals listed under Proposition 65 are not "chemical substances" that are regulated under TSCA but are regulated under other federal laws or other federal agencies, including drugs, foods, pesticides, and tobacco, meaning that the CSIA would not apply. Proposition 65's labeling requirements may not be preempted at all. The CSIA's preemption provisions would only apply to Proposition 65 once EPA completed a safety determination on a specific chemical, and preemption would only be relevant to Proposition 65 labeling requirements if related to the scope of the safety determination of that specific chemical. The discharge prohibition under Proposition 65 would be unaffected by EPA actions under the CSIA, since the CSIA preemption provision does not apply to restrictions that relate to water quality, air quality, waste treatment, or disposal. There are explicit exemptions for state reporting and information collection written into the CSIA.
Low Priority vs. High Priority
Myth: Once a chemical is categorized as Low Priority, it will always be Low Priority. - Mr. Michael A. Troncoso, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General, California (paraphrased)
Fact: In order for EPA to categorize a chemical as low priority, EPA must determine that the substance is "likely to meet the safety standard," which would inherently mean that EPA feels it has sufficient risk information and data to make such a determination. Furthermore, lack of data or information is one factor that EPA may consider when determining that a chemical should be classified as "high priority," requiring a safety assessment and determination. Under the CSIA, if new data/information comes to EPA's attention on a chemical previously identified as low priority, which would suggest it should be a high priority, EPA can re-prioritize the chemical at any time.
Protect the Most Vulnerable
Myth: Mr. Ken Zarker, Manager of Pollution Prevention & Regulatory Assistance Section, Washington State Department of Ecology implied that vulnerable populations would not be protected.
Fact: The CSIA will strengthen protections for all Americans, including sensitive groups. EPA will determine whether a high priority chemical is safe for its intended uses. As part of EPA's evaluation, the Agency must identify how a chemical is likely to be used and what exposures would occur because of those uses. Exposures to sensitive groups, such as pregnant women, infants, and children, would be identified during this process. The CSIA specifically requires EPA to consider sensitive groups, such as pregnant women, infants, and children.
Myth: Mr. Ken Zarker, Manager of Pollution Prevention & Regulatory Assistance Section, Washington State Department of Ecology also implied that states would not be involved in regulations.
Fact: The CSIA encourages and enhances state involvement in the chemical regulatory process. The CSIA encourages the involvement of state agencies throughout the entire process of identifying, assessing, and regulating priority chemicals. The intent is to engage state governments in an approach that promotes a uniform, national system of chemical regulation that addresses the needs of the states in their roles as guardians for their citizens and that avoids the potential for duplication and/or conflict between state and federal decisions.