Erik Baptist Discusses EPA’s Shift in TSCA Risk Evaluation Policy Regarding PPE
Erik C. Baptist, partner in Wiley’s Environment & Product Regulation Practice, was quoted by Law360 in a May 21 article regarding a shift in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approach to chemical regulation under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Mr. Baptist discussed the EPA’s recent reversal of the previous Administration’s policy allowing the Agency to consider the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by workers when determining whether a new chemical poses an unreasonable risk to health. By no longer assuming everyone who comes into contact with a chemical will be protected by PPE, the Agency will be more likely to regulate new chemicals, he said.
That could lead to higher costs for record-keeping and other exposure mitigation measures, according to Mr. Baptist, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Law and Policy at the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. It could also increase the percentage of new chemicals determined to need regulation – to as much as 95% – which could affect industry’s willingness to introduce or incorporate of new chemicals, he said.
“The general assumption is that newer chemicals are safer versus the ones that have been around for decades. That’s not always true, but that is a general assumption,” Mr. Baptist said. “So if this new policy shift for worker protection leads to reducing the transition to new chemicals being introduced in the marketplace and used to replace the older, less safe chemicals, that may have an adverse impact on both health and the environment.”
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