Durbin Praises EPA’s “Top 10” List For Study Under TSCA Reform

Durbin called on EPA to include asbestos and flame retardants among top priority chemicals

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which reforms the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Among the chemicals selected for study are asbestos and flame retardant Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD). In September, Durbin called on EPA to include asbestos and flame retardants in its “Top 10” list, arguing the agency should “use [its] full authority to prevent any future exposures.”
“Today’s announcement signals a major change in the way we address potentially hazardous chemicals. The EPA’s review of these ten substances, and the many more to come, will save lives and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said Durbin. “I commend Administrator McCarthy for taking this critical step, and I urge the next Administration to protect American families by critically evaluating the safety of chemicals and removing them from the public, if necessary.”
Under the new chemical safety law, EPA must complete its evaluation within a three year window. If the chemicals are found to present an unreasonable health or environmental risk, the EPA must mitigate the risk within two years.
Senator Durbin has strong record of protecting children and families from exposure to toxic chemicals. In response to a 2012 Chicago Tribune investigative report, Durbin, then Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, chaired a hearing on the safety and effectiveness of flame retardant chemicals and co-sponsored the Children and Firefighters Protection Act to ban toxic flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s products. In 2015, Durbin introduced the Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act, legislation that would help Americans avoid exposure to asbestos by creating a transparent, up-to-date, and searchable EPA database listing the known locations of asbestos and asbestos-containing products.