March 01, 2015

New Technologies and an Old Law: Renewable Chemicals Invite Challenges under TSCA

Lynn L. Bergeson

The resurgence of chemical production derived from renewable feedstocks reflects the new business imperatives of which chemical product manufacturers are all keenly aware: produce greener chemicals and reduce carbon footprints. Careful review of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a law enacted almost forty years ago during the heyday of petroleum-derived chemical production, suggests that more can be done now to promote the commercialization of renewable chemicals to achieve these imperatives. This article describes renewable chemicals, provides a brief overview of TSCA, discusses key TSCA challenges as applied to them, and suggests actions to ensure TSCA’s implementation now and potential future TSCA revisions to facilitate the commercialization of renewable chemicals.

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