By: Melody Reis, Senior Legislative Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: December 6, 2022
About: Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Administration Fees Rule
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Hello, my name is Melody Reis, and I am the Senior Legislative Manager at Moms Clean Air Force.
I’d like to express my support for EPA’s supplemental proposed TSCA fee rule.
Americans are exposed to thousands of chemicals every day, and only a small fraction of these chemicals—found in our clothing, our furniture, children’s toys, and other products—have been evaluated for safety. While the Lautenberg Amendments to TSCA were intended to ensure that all chemicals in active commerce would be subject to a thorough safety review, the reality is that many chemicals of concern remain untested.
Under the previous administration, EPA’s program costs—the resources required to carry out its increased scope of work, and which are used to determine industry fees—were dramatically underestimated, resulting in inadequate funding.
When EPA lacks robust funding for TSCA implementation, critical reviews can be delayed. A crucial part of EPA’s role is evaluating the health and safety risks of chemicals already in the marketplace. A 2020 report from the EPA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the agency’s workload and planning issues were endangering its ability to conduct these existing chemical reviews. Higher fees would support an increased workforce, which would lead to a more expeditious review of existing chemicals.
Chemicals used in everyday products have been increasingly linked to health problems, including cancer, infertility, and asthma, and children are particularly vulnerable. EPA’s duty to ensure that the products we bring into our homes are safe is of the utmost importance.
While we are broadly supportive of the proposed rule, which will help to make certain that EPA is recouping from industry the Congressionally-mandated 25% of its program costs, we will note our concern that the lenient payment structure may perpetuate delays. For example, by setting the deadline for the second half of certain fees 545 days—or 1.5 years—after the final scope of a risk evaluation is published, EPA may be hampering its ability to plan effectively, and, in turn, decreasing the timeliness of its reviews.
The importance of TSCA—and EPA’s role in its administration and implementation—cannot be overstated. The proposed rule will help to correct years of underfunding and delays and will enable the agency to give chemical safety the attention it deserves. The health of our families depends on it.
Moms Clean Air Force strongly supports the adoption of the proposed TSCA fee rule. Thank you for the opportunity to share our comments.