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Policy fights over climate change, commercial chemicals on deck for 2016

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These days, Congress is known for partisan bickering rather than legislating, but the upcoming year could still prove to be an interesting one for science-related issues, including climate change and consumer protection from harmful substances. The cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, delves into the details.

The magazine notes that during a presidential election year, any legislation Congress attempts to pass will likely be crammed in the early part of 2016. One bill that has a better-than-average chance of passing is an update to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which governs commercial chemicals. Both the House and Senate passed versions last year and would need to resolve the differences. Another bill that could advance aims to strengthen the Food and Drug Administration's oversight of cosmetics and would require manufacturers to test the safety of chemicals in personal care products before they hit the market.

On the issue of climate change, President Barack Obama will be defending his efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S.'s participation in the global pact clinched in Paris in December. Republicans are working to stop two Environmental Protection Agency rules that would curb carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants. And they could hobble Obama's pledge to provide $3 billion to help developing countries control emissions and adapt to climate change.

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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