Questions 34-44 refer to the following information.
Protecting the People
In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate the manufacture and sale of chemicals for the purpose of preventing "unreasonable risk to human health or the environment." The act has 34 instituted and begun regulation of six dangerous chemicals since its inception, but this number is tiny in comparison to the more than 82,000 chemicals currently on the EPA chemical registry. Testing chemicals for toxicity is an expensive process, the burden of which is currently placed on the EPA rather than on the chemical manufacturers, and the EPA has extremely limited resources for testing. If the TSCA is to truly protect U.S. citizens from toxic chemicals, 35 and remove dangerous substances from the environment, the EPA must be provided with additional resources to ensure that chemicals are adequately tested for potential risk.
A company that manufactures new chemicals 36 are required only to register the chemicals with the EPA. Registration includes basic information about a new chemical, but toxicity data is only required if it is already known; companies are not required to make such studies. 37 Critics of the TSCA say that companies should be required to test new chemicals before they can be approved; in order to do so, it has only 90 days to perform extensive testing. As a result, the EPA has very little practical power to regulate any chemicals.
Many states in the U.S., frustrated by the federal government's lack of action on toxic chemicals, have 38 passed stricter legislation that specifically targets chemicals in products designed for vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women. For example, the EPA regulates lead-based paints but does not place any restrictions on the use of lead 39 in other products. Such products might include toys or children's jewelry. Seventeen 40 states' have passed additional restriction's on lead to further reduce children's exposure. In what could be seen as evidence that there should be a federal policy regarding toxic chemicals, 41 over half of the fifty states have existing or pending legislation regulating the use of mercury.
Chemicals regulated by U.S. states beyond TSCA guidelines
U.S. states with regulatory policies
U.S. states with pending policies
U.S. states without regulatory policies
The TSCA could be strengthened by 42 additional funding. The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), a state agency established in 43 1991 has created a Green Chemistry Initiative that combines the efforts of lawmakers, the people of California, and the chemistry industry to create a market in which all products are evaluated for their impact on human health and the environment. The U.S. government could 44 become a trendsetter in environmental regulation by creating a similar, preemptive national initiative, rather than waiting for a substance to be proven toxic before restricting its use.