Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Toxic Substances Control Act, Hazardous substances--Oregon, Environmental monitoring, Hazardous substances -- Oregon -- Law and legislation


Oregon is uniquely positioned to lead in the development of safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. Existing chemicals policy in the United States does not comprehensively protect human health or the environment from the potential impacts of chemical exposure. Very few of the 84,000 chemical substances produced, processed or imported for commercial purposes in the United States have been studied for health and environmental impacts. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has access to only limited information about potential health or environmental hazards. Manufacturers have the right to withhold what they consider to be confidential business information. Because of this lack of information, in many instances it is impossible for the EPA to demonstrate that a chemical poses a risk. With this weak federal regulatory structure, industry has little incentive to develop safer alternatives. Although legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to strengthen the enforcement capacities of the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act, progress in policy reform at the federal level is slow and thus far inadequate to protect human health and environmental quality. States have a chance to lead the way to safer chemicals policy.

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