249597 Reforming US Chemicals Policies: The Importance of Implementation and Systems Thinking

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Joel Tickner, ScD , Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Jessica Schifano, JD, MPH , Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, Lowell, MA
Ken Geiser, PhD , Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Chemicals regulation in the United States is in dire need of repair. Researchers and government bodies have noted the various limitations of the Toxic Substances Control Act. While much of the discussion about TSCA has focused on the limited authorities the Act provides to EPA to gather information and restrict chemicals of concern, this alone cannot explain the limited performance of the Act over the past 30 years. A myriad of statutory, procedural, political, and resource factors together created a situation that inhibited the ability of EPA to effectively collect data and manage chemical hazards. Further, TSCA's limited scope and the artificial jurisdictional boundaries established for management of chemicals in everyday products, toys, workplaces, and food contact and cosmetic products create barriers to effective chemicals management and a focus on safer design. In this presentation, we explore some of the factors that have affected TSCA's implementation, some of they ways EPA has attempted to address barriers to TSCA implementation, and some of challenges of a disjointed system of chemicals management. We propose an approach to comprehensive chemicals policy, a systems based approach to chemicals management with the goal of designing and applying safer chemicals throughout their supply chains.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the Importance of Implementation and Systems Thinking

Keywords: Environmental Health, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of the research involved in the abstract, and was a material contributor to the research and writing
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.