Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA)

April 28, 2014

Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA)

Discussion Draft

Authored By Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL)

OBJECTIVE: To improve public confidence in the safety of chemicals produced and used in the United States, and to facilitate interstate commerce in American-made chemicals and the products that contain them.

The law must be modernized to reflect advancements and support innovation. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976. While some parts have proven to be successful, implementation of other portions of TSCA have been frustrated by legal challenges, spawning disputes about TSCA’s overall effectiveness to facilitate U.S. chemical manufacturing and use in the face of industry advancements and increased interstate commerce. A modernization of the law is necessary to provide the public greater confidence in the safety of U.S. chemicals and to promote further innovation and economic growth.

This is a commerce bill, not just a chemical safety bill. The U.S. economy is heavily reliant on chemicals, and a strong regulatory system is needed to encourage growth and facilitate commerce across several sectors of the economy. Chemicals are used to produce over 96 percent of all manufactured goods, and over 25 percent of the U.S. GDP is derived from chemical dependent industries.

The Chemicals in Commerce Act is essential to America’s manufacturing renaissance. The legislation will improve market access to U.S. goods by instilling public confidence in the safety of U.S. products, establishing a new worldwide gold standard for chemical products stamped “Made in America.” The bill will also open pathways for interstate commerce by replacing today’s patchwork of state-by-state chemical regulation with a single market where each chemical is traded under one set of rules.

The Chemicals in Commerce Act will encourage job creation across the economy. By providing greater regulatory certainty and transparency and restoring confidence in U.S. products, this legislation will encourage further expansion and hiring in the U.S. chemical industry and other downstream industries, including manufacturing, construction, automotive, technology, energy, and healthcare.

The Chemicals in Commerce Act is a win-win for safety and the economy. This is a bipartisan, bicameral effort to improve the protection of public health and the environment, encourage innovation and economic growth, and help create countless American jobs.

What the Chemicals in Commerce Act will do:

CICA will equip the Environmental Protection Agency with the necessary tools and authority to sort existing chemicals in commerce into two categories based on exposures and hazards: high priority and low priority.

  • Chemicals not likely to pose a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment would be designated low priority. That designation would remain unless overturned by a court or revisited by EPA based upon additional information or the agency's discretion. 
  • High priority chemicals would be subject to rigorous scientific examination by EPA. The agency would have authority to require manufacturers and processors to produce information on and, if necessary, test the chemical for its risks. Based on the information collected, EPA would then determine whether the chemical would result in a significant risk of harm for its intended use.
  • A chemical determined to pose a significant risk of harm would be subject to a rule restricting its use or imposing other appropriate requirements such as worker safeguards or consumer product labeling.    

The legislation will create a national standard for chemical regulation while allowing states to participate in the process.

  • CICA’s preemption provisions seek to balance the rights of states to act on their own in the absence of federal action with the economic need for an integrated U.S. market.   
  • Federal preemption would occur chemical by chemical for high priority chemicals. If EPA promulgates a rule restricting a chemical’s use, that rule would apply in all 50 states and replace any specific state or local restrictions or requirements on the same chemical. If EPA determines that a high priority chemical is not likely to pose a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment, that determination would apply in all 50 states and preempt any specific state or local restriction. 

Confidential business information would continue to be protected, but authorized access to it would be broadened to include states and health professionals who have a need for the information and agree to protect its further disclosure. CICA does not prevent public disclosure of generic names or other unique chemical identifiers, general information about a chemical, or health and safety information.

New chemicals, exports, and imports, would be treated much as they are under current law.

###