Emphasis on the responsible handling, use, transportation, and storage of chemicals is woven throughout NACD Responsible Distribution®’s Guiding Principles. A condition of NACD membership is a company’s commitment to the continuous improvement of the chemical distribution industry’s responsible management and handling of chemicals. Sound chemical management policies that safeguard the environment and the public are achieved by following scientific evidence and through open dialogue between industry and the government.
For more information on specific chemical management policies, please explore the topics below and browse NACD’s resource database. For the latest actions in these areas, follow us on Twitter and visit our Newsroom.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widely used, long-lasting synthetic chemicals that have been in use for decades. Components of PFAS break down slowly over time. Because of their ubiquity and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in some food products and in the environment. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.
NACD members are urged to monitor PFAS initiatives, particularly state “notification” and reporting requirements. EPA intends to engage a whole of government approach to limit and reduce exposure to these chemicals, so we can expect additional regulatory restrictions at the federal level. Those identified above are not exhaustive. State initiatives will similarly expand. While seemingly innocuous, the consequences of failing to satisfy these requirements can be dire. Additionally, once a company reports, its association with PFAS becomes part of a permanent record that can be accessed by third parties for use in other, collateral legal proceedings.
In terms of NACD member companies’ commercial relationships, you may wish to consider understanding thoroughly what products, if any, you obtain from others that may contain PFAS. Supplier notifications are a means to obtain this information. For the same reason, NACD member companies’ customers may well expect the same type of disclosure, so be prepared to respond to questions regarding the presence of PFAS, whether intentionally added or not, in products you supply to others. Members may also wish to inventory their products to know which may include PFAS and begin to assess the consequences of the presence of PFAS in a product. Many entities are reformulating products to limit their potential liability in any number of venues. In addition, the supply of PFAS may not continue prompting reformulation imperatives unrelated to liability.
Knowing whether you have issues derivative of PFAS is as important as addressing any potential source of PFAS liability.
The food market is a substantial and growing segment of NACD members’ business. More than 60 percent of NACD distributor member companies distribute or process chemicals that will ultimately become ingredients in food. Keeping the U.S. food supply safe through Responsible Distribution and compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration food safety regulations is of upmost importance to NACD members.
NACD supports harmonized policies and standards that maintain the highest levels of food safety. These policies should reflect best practices supported by science and be fairly and reasonably enforced.
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In 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) into law. This measure updated the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time since its enactment in 1976. NACD supported this TSCA reform effort in Congress. Under the law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with prioritizing chemicals, conducting risk evaluations on high priority chemicals, and implementing risk management rules to address unreasonable risks. NACD is concerned some of EPA’s policies in implementing the new TSCA are too restrictive, including the agency’s “whole chemical” approach to risk evaluation and management rather than a risk-based, “conditions of use” approach. NACD supports a transparent, balanced, and consistent approach to TSCA implementation that protects the public and the environment without stifling innovation or restricting businesses’ growth.
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Under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), employers must evaluate potential hazards of chemicals and communicate information about these hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees through hazard classification, safety data sheets (SDS), and labels. OSHA periodically updates the HCS. These revisions have a significant impact on chemical distributors as they must update their SDSs, labels, and training to conform to the changes. OSHA proposed new updates to the HCS in February 2021; and NACD is concerned about several of the proposed changes including the definition of bulk shipment, a proposal to include “date released for shipment” on labels, and a requirement to include information on downstream uses and potential reactions on SDSs. NACD has communicated these concerns to OSHA through written comments and letters as well as oral testimony. OSHA is expected to issue a final rule later in 2022.
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For further questions about NACD’s Chemicals Management Issue Page, please contact Nicholas Breslin, Manager of Regulatory Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.