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April 16, 2013

TSCA Reform Legislation Would Regulate Special Substance Characteristic

Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 10, 2013, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 696), which would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and is identical to legislation (S. 847) reported favorably out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a party-line vote in the 112th Congress. While the bill does not specifically mention nanomaterials, it defines “special substance characteristic”:

(A) IN GENERAL. — The term ‘special substance characteristic’ means a physical, chemical, or biological characteristic, other than molecular identity, that the Administrator determines, by order or rule, may significantly affect the risks posed by substances exhibiting that characteristic.

(B) CONSIDERATIONS. — In determining the existence of special substance characteristics, the Administrator may consider —

(i) size or size distribution;

(ii) shape and surface structure;

(iii) reactivity; and

(iv) any other properties that may significantly affect the risks posed.

It is now expected that Senator David Vitter (R-LA), ranking minority member of the Committee, will introduce his version of a TSCA reform bill, a possibility that has been discussed in the trade press for months. More information is available in Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s April 11, 2013, memorandum.