The emerging debate over regulation of commercial chemicals

Is the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), passed in 1976 and essentially unchanged since then, still adequate for regulating commercial chemicals in the 21st century? A point-counterpoint article on that topic, scheduled for the Jan. 8 issue of the ACS's weekly newsmagazine, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), offers opposing viewpoints.

The article suggests that broader debate is likely on the topic this year, as the European Union moves ahead with implementation of a new regulatory system for industrial and commercial chemicals. That new approach is known as REACH (registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals).

In the article, Michael P. Walls, managing director for regulatory and technical affairs at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), argues that TSCA remains a solid, proven approach that can address new challenges such as regulating the products of nanotechnology. ACC's members include major chemical manufacturers. Taking the opposite view is Joel A.Tickner, an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. Tickner argues that TSCA has weaknesses and calls for talks among chemical makers, users, states and environmental advocates on how to address those limitations.- American Chemical Society