Bipartisan Chemical Safety Reform Legislation Supported by Senator Baldwin Heads to President’s Desk

Bill to overhaul the nation's broken chemical safety law clears House and Senate, heads to President’s desk to be signed into law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded the passage of bipartisan chemical safety reform legislation in the U.S. Senate today. The comprehensive legislation, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, to overhaul the nation's broken chemical safety law passed the House last month and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

“Reform is long overdue, and I am proud to support this bipartisan bill,” said Senator Baldwin. “It’s important that we advance protections for public health and the environment in a way that works for our manufacturing economy. This bipartisan reform does just. I’m pleased that we have worked across party lines and this important bipartisan reform will now be signed into law.” 

Advocacy groups and businesses nationwide support the bill, including S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., March of Dimes, National Wildlife Federation, Humane Society of the United States, Environmental Defense Fund, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Alliance for Innovation, the American Chemistry Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.

The chemical safety reform legislation was introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA). The bipartisan bill overhauls the broken and outdated 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time in almost 40 years. Previous efforts to reform the law have died for lack of bipartisan support, but an unprecedented number of senators—from liberals to conservatives, as well as stakeholders ranging from environmental groups and health advocates, to labor unions and sportsmen—now back comprehensive reform. 

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act would provide a national solution, requiring the EPA to act on all new chemicals entering the marketplace, providing the resources and authority to finally begin regulating unrestricted chemicals that are already on the market—including asbestos—and ensuring that chemical companies would no longer be able to hide indefinitely the composition of their products from the public. The law would require the EPA to consider the impact on the most vulnerable populations—pregnant women, infants, the elderly and chemical workers—when regulating chemicals. It would also grandfather in existing state laws.

In July of 2015, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan Senate coalition as a cosponsor.  

Named for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), a longtime champion for a strong chemical safety law, and supported by his widow Bonnie, the legislation moved forward in the Senate last December