Electronic Design

Environmental Fund Asks Congress To Update Toxic Substances Act

With at least several hundred companies in the United States producing or importing chemicals designated as hazardous by the European Union (EU), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has issued a report calling on the U.S. Congress to update the nation’s 32-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act.

“This report serves as an early warning to companies making and using these dangerous chemicals that they will be at a competitive disadvantage unless they proactively seek to eliminate and develop safer alternatives,” says Richard A. Denison, the EDF’s senior scientist and author of the report.

“Scrutiny of these chemicals is only going to grow, so chemical companies should support efforts to modernize the decades-old U.S. chemicals policy that has shielded chemicals from needed testing and appropriate control,” Denison added.

The report, Across the Pond: Assessing REACH’s First Big Impact on U.S. Companies and Chemicals, specifically addresses one of the EU’s most complex chemical directives—Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which calls for companies to register all chemicals they place on the EU market in amounts above one metric ton.

The EDF says its report is the first to determine which companies report making what the REACH directive refers to as “substances of very high concern,” or SVHCs. These SVHC chemicals are subject to REACH’s authorization requirements and require permission from EU officials to be sold in the EU.

The International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), a Swedish nongovernmental organization, issued a list of nearly 300 SVHCs in September. ChemSec calls it the “SIN List” for “Substitute It Now,” reflecting the group’s interest in finding alternatives for SVHCs.

The EDF report notes that many chemicals on the SIN LIST are manufactured or imported in the United States.

Environmental Defense Fund


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