by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs
The House of Representatives last night approved the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576), legislation that would enhance the protection of health and the environment, while also providing the semiconductor industry and other sectors with certainty in the selection and use of chemicals. We applaud the House for passing this legislation and urge the Senate to approve companion legislation (S.697) in short order. The House and Senate would then need to reconcile the two bills before sending the legislation to the president.
Semiconductors – the building blocks for modern electronics that support virtually all sectors of our economy – are an essential driver of U.S. economic and technology leadership and our national security. The U.S. semiconductor industry directly employs 250,000 workers in the United States and supports more than 1 million additional U.S. jobs. Semiconductors are among the top three manufactured exports of the United States.
The manufacturing of advanced semiconductors requires the carefully controlled use of chemicals and materials that are selected for their unique chemical and physical attributes. In most cases, there are no viable alternatives to these chemicals, and the industry employs sophisticated controls to minimize releases of these chemicals to the environment or exposure to workers. The sound regulation of chemicals essential to our manufacturing processes is a key issue for the continued success of the U.S. semiconductor industry.
H.R. 2576 would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 – a law that has not been updated since its enactment almost 40 years ago – to improve chemical safety while encouraging continued innovation and economic growth. One of the strengths of the bill is its targeted approach. While certain elements of TSCA have long needed reform, other aspects of the TSCA statute and program have worked well. The TSCA Modernization Act amends statutory provisions that warrant change, while preserving existing sections of the law that are working well.
H.R. 2576 is a positive step toward improving the federal chemical management program. We commend the House for approving this legislation and urge the Senate to take action to modernize federal chemicals law.
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