While national efforts to reform the outdated federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) continue, the state of Vermont has pushed forward on its own to create more stringent chemical safety standards than currently afforded.
On Friday, May 9, 2014, Vermont bill S.239 passed the Vermont Senate with a vote of 26 to 3, making the bill law and sending it to the Governor’s desk. The new state law gives power to the Vermont health department to require manufacturers to label or outright ban chemicals from children’s products sold in Vermont that the health department deems harmful.
Currently, the definition of “children’s products” is still being debated. For example, debate is underway if products that children commonly come in contact with, such as carpeting, should be included in the definition.
The Vermont legislature follows The Children’s Safe Products Act enacted in the state of Washington as well as state laws in California and Maine. As part of the Washington state law, the state has established a Reporting List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) independent of federal law.
Currently, one point of contention in efforts to reform the national Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the rights of states to enact stricter laws than the national level, with some national legislators arguing that a national chemicals law must preempt state rulings.