US/Transnational Chemicals Policy
The US participates in numerous global chemicals policy activities. About global chemicals policy agreements with which the US is involved.
The U.S. is also involved in several regional initiatives with Canada and Mexico.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a 1994 agreement between Canada, the US, and Mexico which seeks to remove barriers to trade between these nations and facilitate the movement of goods and services across their boarders. These goods include chemicals, chemical feedstocks, and products containing chemicals.
NAFTA created the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to oversee regional environmental concerns, and enforce existing environmental laws. To that end, CEC initiated the Sound Management of Chemicals (SMOC) project as an opportunity to prioritize chemicals of concern, draft North American action plans for these chemicals, and oversee their implementation.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America is a 2005 agreement between Canada, the US, and Mexico to increase and improve the sharing of information between the nations. The Partnership seeks to protect national borders from terrorism while still promoting a business-friendly environment for trade. As part of this agreement, the three countries agreed to work collaboratively on chemical safety issues, including the safe production and use of industrial chemicals. As the American agency responsible for this task, EPA has launched the Chemicals Assessment and Monitoring Program (ChAMP) to prioritize action on the more than 6,700 chemicals used in quantities above 25,000 lbs/year.
The International Joint Commission
The International Joint Commission (IJC) established by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, assists the governments of the U.S. and Canada in finding solutions to problems in rivers and lakes that lie along, or flow across, the border between the two countries. Much of the work of the IJC consists in assisting the governments of Canada and the U.S. to achieve their goal of cleaning up the Great Lakes and preventing further pollution in the system.
Under the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), the governments of Canada and the U.S. made a commitment to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem by eliminating or reducing to the maximum extent practicable the discharge of pollutants into the Great Lakes System. The Agreement also calls for the virtual elimination of all persistent toxic substances.
Under the 1997 Bi-National Toxics Strategy, the U.S. and Canada agreed to work in cooperation with their public and private partners toward the goal of virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances resulting from human activity, particularly those which bioaccumulate, from the Great Lakes Basin.
The Arctic Council
Originating from a 1991 agreement between the arctic states known as the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy prioritizing the sustainable development of the region, the Arctic Council comprises the 8 nations whose borders make up the arctic region: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. The Council, including indigenous peoples of the region, convenes to discuss common concerns that face the arctic environment.
An important part of the Council’s mission is the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) which seeks to monitor the extent of contamination from industrial pollution in the Arctic, measurements that include levels of heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and pesticides. While the Program has found that the arctic is relatively pristine compared to more industrialized areas, AMAP has also noted that worrisome compounds, such as brominated flame retardants, are beginning to be found in the region. The program has drafted recommendations related to these findings which are designed to broaden the Council's discussions.