chemicals bottle

AFP Photo/Remy Gabalda

After a decade of debate the law that governs the introduction and use of chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), has been voted to be amended by the US Congress last month as reported by Nature (Vol 534, 2 June 2016, page 18-19).

This will give the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power to ask, or even require companies to provide information on chemicals – both old and new – to prove that they are safe, or at least have proper safety information available.

At the moment the TSCA inventory contains about 85k chemical substances but only a fraction of these have undergone a safety review. The new law is hoped to result in a lot more openly accessible information on health and environmental safety of chemicals for researchers and the public likewise. It will also drive research into chemicals of concern and allow for less information to be hidden as a trade secret.

For more information on the TSCA and its comparison to the European REACH counterpart read here.