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Voluntary Chemical Safety Testing: 'Selective imposition' of the law

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In the years following the passage of TSCA, the industry gradually shifted its strategy. Faced with an increasing public demand for environmental and worker protections, the industry tweaked its original tactics and focused on blunting regulations and co-opting testing programs. In this way, the industry often controlled the debate, and succeeded in preventing the comprehensive testing programs that would truly protect the public.

Even while stonewalling new regulations in the early 1970's, elements of the delay strategy were apparent. A 1972 memo advocates further study, a position the CMA is still taking almost 30 years later:

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By the 1980s, delaying additional government action under TSCA was the primary aim of many industry activities. In document after document, the industry used telling catchphrases like "selective imposition" (view entire document) and "step-wise" implementation. (view entire document) A 1982 memo makes it clear that the industry viewed government regulators and environmental advocates as enemies.

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CMA recognized that roadblocks in the way of rigorous federal testing were not enough. A secondary aspect of the strategy called for action at the state and local levels. A 1985 report urged lobbying of "all professional associations which represent large groups of government officials such as the National Association of Counties, League of Cities, Conference of Mayors, National Governors Conference, the Conference of State Legislatures, the Association of Attorneys General and the like." The stated "benefit" of this program was to "[b]lunt any precipitous legislative initiatives on the local, state or regional level." (view entire document)

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last updated: march.27.2009

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