Congressional Research Service Reports - 171 Matching Results

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Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues
This report describes the provisions of Superfund and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and enforcement actions under these laws that have increasingly been receiving attention. Congressional scrutiny in the form of legislative proposals and a House hearing in the 109th Congress are discussed.
Agent Orange: Veterans' Complaints Concerning Exposure to Herbicides in South Vietnam
From 1962 to 1971, the United States Air Force (USAF) sprayed various herbicide mixtures (chemicals that kill plants) in South Vietnam. The purpose of the spraying was to defoliate jungle growth to deprive the Communist forces of ground cover, and to destroy enemy crops to restrict food supplies. The most extensively used of these herbicide mixtures was known as Agent Orange, a 50:50 mix of two common herbicides called 1,4,5-T and 2,4-D (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid). The third chemical present in the mixture in small amounts was TCDD, an inevitable by-product of the manufacture of 2,4,5-T. This chemical, called tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin or simply "dioxin," is highly toxic to laboratory animals when administered in its pure form. CRS has been unable to locate any report of a human death from exposure to pure TCDD. This report discusses the human health effects that have occurred from exposure to TCDD, as well as related Congressional concerns.
Federal and State Authority to Regulate Radioactive Waste Disposal and Transportation
There appears to be a growing controversy concerning whether a state has the authority to prevent the federal government from disposing of nuclear wastes within it and transporting nuclear wastes through it. Several states have statutes purporting to veto the federal government's action in these areas. This report investigates whether these state statutes may be unconstitutional and preempted by federal statutes and regulations.
Marine Security of Hazardouse Chemical Cargo
No Description Available.
Toxics Release Inventory: Do Communities Have a Right to Know More?
No Description Available.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
This report discusses Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is used to produce certain types of plastic that are used in thousands of formulations for myriad products. Containers made with these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Medical devices and other more ubiquitous products, such as thermal paper coatings, also may contribute significantly to human exposure. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people.
Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): Senate and House Bills Compared with Current Law
On April 15, 2010, Senator Lautenberg introduced legislation (S. 3209) to amend the core provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title I. Representatives Waxman and Rush introduced comprehensive legislation to amend TSCA (H.R. 5820) on July 22, 2010. This report compares key provisions of S. 3209, as introduced, H.R. 5820, as introduced, and current law (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.).
Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange: Legislative History, Litigation, and Current Issues
This report provides an overview of how Congress and the judiciary have addressed the concerns of Vietnam-era veterans and briefly describes some of the current issues raised by Vietnam-era veterans.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report defines key terms, provides a brief history of toxic substances control law, and describes key provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In addition, this report lists several references for more detailed information about the act and provides a table that cross references sections of the U.S. Code with corresponding sections of the act. The report is descriptive rather than analytic, highlights key provisions rather than providing a comprehensive inventory of the act's numerous sections, and addresses authorities and limitations imposed by statute, rather than the status of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implementation or other policy issues.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): Implementation and New Challenges
This report provides an overview of basic Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provisions, briefly examines the history of TSCA implementation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and describes the legal, scientific, and technological developments that are being used to provide support to calls for TSCA reform.
The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)
This report deals solely with the liability provisions of S. 350, found in Title II of the bill. (The manager’s amendment does not concern these.) These provisions cover three types of innocent parties: (1) owners of properties contaminated from contiguous properties, (2) prospective purchasers, and (3) innocent landowners.
Lead in Flint, Michigan's Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role
This report discusses the federal regulatory role in regards to drinking water, more specifically in the context of the Flint water crisis. Lead exposure is a major public health concern, particularly because low-level exposures can impair the neurodevelopment of children. The main source of lead in drinking water is the corrosion of plumbing materials in the distribution system.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary
This report summarizes the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the major regulatory programs that mandate reporting by industrial facilities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, as well as local planning to respond in the event of significant, accidental releases.
The Toxic Substances Control Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the major regulatory programs dealing with chemical production and distribution in U.S. commerce.
Lead in Flint, Michigan's Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role
This report discusses the federal regulatory role in regards to drinking water, more specifically in the context of the Flint water crisis. EPA's current Flint responses include providing technical assistance for water testing and treatment, conducting water monitoring, and identifying lead service line locations.
Congressional Efforts to Amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
This report examines selected differences between the House and the Senate legislation that would amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA; 15 U.S.C. 2601-2629). Title I of TSCA is the principal federal statute that applies to the regulation of the lifecycle of commercial chemicals from their manufacture (defined to include importation) to disposal if elements of the lifecycle are found to present unreasonable risks.
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
The focus of this report is on proposed amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This report does not constitute a legal analysis of the bills or of existing law. Instead, it begins by describing the three international agreements and relevant provisions of TSCA. The report then summarizes selected provisions of H.R. 4591 and H.R. 4800, as introduced, and compares them in a brief narrative and more detailed table.
Radioactive Tank Wastes: Disposal Authority in the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for FY2005
No Description Available.
Ethylene Dibromide: History, Health Effects, and Policy Questions
Much attention has recently been focused on the chemical ethylene dibromide (EDB). This chemical has been widely used in leaded gasoline, and has also been used to treat grains, citrus and other crops. It has been found in foods and in groundwater. This paper examines the possible health effects of exposure to EDB, as well as its regulation. The possible health effects and regulation of various chemical and physical alternatives to EDB are also examined. This paper concludes with some policy considerations pertinent to EDB.
The Delaney Clause: The Dilemma of Regulating Health Risk for Pesticide Residues
Under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for establishing tolerances for pesticide residues in or on foods and feeds. Tolerances are legal limits to the amount of pesticide residues that can be found on a raw agricultural commodity at the farm gate or in a processed food. The FFDCA has two sections, 408 and 409, which set up different and inconsistent criteria for setting tolerances for pesticide residues in foods.
The Delaney Dilemma: Regulating Pesticide Residues in Foods -- Seminar Proceedings, March 16, 1993
A provision in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Delaney Clause, appears to lower risks in the setting of tolerances for pesticide residues. It prohibits any substance from being added to processed foods if it induces cancer in man or animals. In reality, the provision created a dilemma because the zero-risk statute makes it difficult to regulate pesticides. Because of the prescription of Delaney, tolerances (legal limits) are established differently for carcinogens and non-carcinogens and in raw and processed foods.
Chemical Facility Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemical (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but the risks may be increasing -- with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Congress might choose to rely on existing efforts in the public and private sectors to improve chemical site security over time. Alternatively, Congress could expand existing environmental planning requirements for chemical facilities to require consideration of terrorism. Congress might also enact legislation to reduce risks, either by "hardening" defenses against terrorists or by requiring industries to consider use of safer chemicals, procedures, or processes.
Chemical Facility Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemical (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but the risks may be increasing -- with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Congress might choose to rely on existing efforts in the public and private sectors to improve chemical site security over time. Alternatively, Congress could expand existing environmental planning requirements for chemical facilities to require consideration of terrorism. Congress might also enact legislation to reduce risks, either by "hardening" defenses against terrorists or by requiring industries to consider use of safer chemicals, procedures, or processes.
Chemical Facility Security: A Comparison of S. 157 and S. 994
The 108th Congress is considering legislation to reduce chemical facilities’ vulnerability to acts of terrorism, so as to protect critical sectors of the U.S. infrastructure and reduce risks to public health and the environment. Competing bills, S. 994 and S. 157, have been introduced into the Senate. Both would require chemical facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop and implement site security plans, but the approaches of the bills differ with respect to the chemicals and facilities covered, planning requirements and mechanisms for federal and facility accountability.
Chemical Plant Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. Because few terrorist attacks have been attempted against chemical facilities in the United States, the risk of death and injury in the near future is estimated to be low, relative to the likelihood of accidents at such facilities or attacks on other targets using conventional weapons. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but risks may be increasing with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards.
Chemical Plant Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. Because few terrorist attacks have been attempted against chemical facilities in the United States, the risk of death and injury in the near future is estimated to be low, relative to the likelihood of accidents at such facilities or attacks on other targets using conventional weapons. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but risks may be increasing with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
This report discusses concerns about food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Waste Trade and the Basel Convention: Background and Update
No Description Available.
Japan's Sea Shipment of Plutonium
No Description Available.
Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
EDB and the Agriculture Community: A Background Discussion
EDB is being removed from major agricultural uses because of concerns about possible adverse effects on human health. Regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system will have impacts on the agricultural community. Uses of EDB in agriculture, regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system quickly, and possible impacts of those regulatory actions on domestic and international markets are discussed.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, legislation in the 112th Congress is discussed.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
Report that describes several policy issues regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, the report discusses legislation in the Congress regarding whether funding should be continued to fund these efforts.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, legislation in the 112th Congress is discussed.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. The 112th Congress extended this authority through March 18, 2011. Debate continues in Congress over whether to let this extension expire or continue funding the authority. This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, legislation in the 112th Congress is discussed.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes, and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration, as well as relevant legislation in the 112th Congress.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA.
Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000
This report summarizes H.R. 1283, 106th Congress, the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000, as ordered to be reported with amendments by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 16, 2000. The bill would create an administrative procedure for asbestos liability claims.
Asian Soybean Rust: Background and Issues
This report discusses the background and issues regarding Asian soybean rust (ASR) that was discovered in the United States in an experimental field in Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating a plan to deal with ASR that encompasses various USDA agencies, state land-grant universities, and industry participants. The arrival of ASR has implications for several public policies including pest control research (particularly the development of resistant varieties), pesticide regulation, disaster assistance, and crop insurance.
Chemical Plant Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. Because few terrorist attacks have been attempted against chemical facilities in the United States, the risk of death and injury in the near future is estimated to be low, relative to the likelihood of accidents at such facilities or attacks on other targets using conventional weapons. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but risks may be increasing with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards.
Chemical Facility Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemical (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but the risks may be increasing -- with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Congress might choose to rely on existing efforts in the public and private sectors to improve chemical site security over time. Alternatively, Congress could expand existing environmental planning requirements for chemical facilities to require consideration of terrorism. Congress might also enact legislation to reduce risks, either by "hardening" defenses against terrorists or by requiring industries to consider use of safer chemicals, procedures, or processes.
Chemical Facility Security
Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemical (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but the risks may be increasing -- with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Congress might choose to rely on existing efforts in the public and private sectors to improve chemical site security over time. Alternatively, Congress could expand existing environmental planning requirements for chemical facilities to require consideration of terrorism. Congress might also enact legislation to reduce risks, either by "hardening" defenses against terrorists or by requiring industries to consider use of safer chemicals, procedures, or processes.
Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the 114th Congress: S. 697, S. 725, and a House Discussion Draft
This report tracks the legislative status in the 114th Congress of proposals to amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act and includes a discussion of selected issues that have received more attention. This report does not present a comprehensive analysis of all provisions of relevant legislation, nor is this report intended to provide a detailed analysis of precise language and its legal or regulatory interpretation.
The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)
No Description Available.
Closing Yucca Mountain: Litigation Associated with Attempts to Abandon the Planned Nuclear Waste Repository
Passed in 1982, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) was an effort to establish an explicit statutory basis for the Department of Energy (DOE) to dispose of the nation's most highly radioactive nuclear waste. Congress amended the NWPA's site selection process in 1987, however, and designated Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the sole candidate site for the repository by terminating site specific activities at all other sites. This report discusses the Obama Administration and the DOE's steps to terminate the Yucca Mountain project, and the subsequent opposition to their efforts.
Effects of Radiation from Fukushima Dai-ichi on the U.S. Marine Environment
The massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, caused extensive damage in northeastern Japan, including damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power installation, which resulted in the release of radiation. Concerns arose about the potential effects of this released radiation on the U.S. marine environment and resources.
Effects of Radiation from Fukushima Daiichi on the U.S. Marine Environment
The massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, caused extensive damage in northeastern Japan, including damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power installation, which resulted in the release of radiation. This report discusses concerns about the potential effects of this released radiation on the U.S. marine environment and resources.