The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) is sloppy in handling environmental pollutants. The agency allows many toxic chemicals into the economy with little effort to ensure that the chemicals are safe. The chemicals are left unsecured to the benefit of the manufacturing company because of the revenue that is generated from the business. Many toxic substances, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are used to make water pipes and curtains (Weeks 2009). Other harmful chemicals include polybrominated diphenyl-ethers (PBDEs) and phthalates used to make flame retardation fabrics (Weeks 2009). Most consumers believe that when they purchase products that have been vetted, they are secure, which is not always the case.
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TSCA requires reforms in its way of operation; the agency has focused on nanotechnology, which paves the way to other toxic chemicals that are very hazardous to the environment. The government has to ensure that the TSCA implementations are more robust like those of the European Union (EU). The EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical (REACH) policy is efficient (Weeks 2009). The company associated with the chemical registers their product and provides data regarding their product before it is allowed into the market. However, in the United States of America, the regulators are burdened with providing evidence that the product is harmful and should be removed from the market (Weeks 2009). The burden of testing the product is hefty; this hinders bulky testing of the products because of the high costs associated. TSCA also has requirements that may lead to increased toxicity in the market products (Weeks 2009). For example, TSCA requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide substantial evidence to limit the use of a toxic product.
EPA’s method of identifying toxic substances is also vague; they use scientific models to identify potential toxicity in chemicals. Furthermore, the testing procedure implemented is old-fashioned, they use animal testing methods which are very slow and expensive (Weeks 2009). The method implemented is slow, and therefore they require a fast and efficient method of testing and identifying toxic chemicals before being launched into the market.
Weeks, Jennifer. 2009. “Regulating Toxic Chemicals: Do we Know Enough about Chemical Risks?”. CQ Researcher 19 (3): 49-72.