WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) released the following statement after the Senate unanimously voted to pass sweeping legislation to reform the broken Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). Written by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) and co-sponsored by Senators Coons and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act overhauls the 39-year-old law to better protect the public while still protecting American business and innovation. 

“I’m excited that the Senate has come together to approve critical reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA),” said Sen. Coons. “In the nearly 40 years since the original law was signed, not only has technology and science evolved — but our understanding of how these substances affect us, and what we can do to protect ourselves, has also changed dramatically.

“Keeping the American people safe is not just about fighting terror and protecting our borders — it’s also about making sure that the products we use, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe are safe. Since being elected to the Senate in 2010, I have heard from countless Delawareans — researchers, nurses, parents, business owners — about how ineffective the original law is, and how we can and must do better. Delaware is home to some of America’s leading chemical manufacturers, so my constituents and I see firsthand the detrimental impact of this outdated law on both communities and businesses. 

“The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act gives critical authority to the Environmental Protection Agency to police dangerous chemicals, while providing regulatory certainty for the businesses whose innovations we depend on every day. I’m particularly pleased that the bill includes a section that reflects my Sustainable Chemistry R&D Act, which will encourage the development and commercialization of new chemicals, materials, and processes that are better for the environment.

“It’s a tribute to the late Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who spent years working on this legislation, that not only did this bill pass in a flurry of year-end Senate activity, but that it came together thanks to leadership from both Republicans and Democrats. I’m glad that the end of the year brings passage of this bill, and with it, good news for consumers and companies alike. You don’t have a great reaction without a great catalyst — and Senator Lautenberg was that catalyst. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to honor his legacy and see this legislation across the finish line.”