Chemicals Policy

Regulation of Chemicals: Science, Risk Assessment, and Public Policy


In 2016 Congress passed the first revision of a major environmental law since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Large bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate passed modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, a law named after the late Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

Research by O’Neill School faculty and students helped make the case for a distinctive American approach to chemicals policy reform, one that is more based on risk than the European approach. O’Neill School research has compared U.S. and European practices and is now highly relevant to implementation of the new chemicals law. Here we describe the evolution of the O’Neill School's work on chemicals policy, including work now underway.

Results from our research

Developed from the efforts of a multiyear, international project examining how persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals are evaluated and managed, Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals: Technical Aspects, Policies, and Practicesby Adam D.K. Abelkop, John D. Graham, and Todd V. Royer, focuses on improving the processes that govern PBTs. 

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Working Research Group

John D. Graham
(812) 855-1432

  • Government reform
  • Energy and the environment
  • The future of the automobile in both developed and developing countries
  • Presidential studies

Keith Belton
Academic Specialist
(812) 855-6122

  • Environment, health, and safety policy
  • Regulatory reform
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Chemical manufacturing industry

Todd V. Royer
Associate Professor
(812) 855-0563

  • Aquatic biogeochemistry
  • Water resources
  • Nutrient and carbon cycling in streams and rivers
  • Water quality and nutrient standards

Joseph Shaw
Associate Professor
(812) 855-0732

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Environmental Genomics
  • Comparative Physiology