SOCMA Lends Support for Senate Chemical Security Bill

February 18, 2010
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Society for Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates offered its support for a Senate proposal to extend to 2015 current chemical-security standards, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, which are set to expire this year.

The Society for Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) offered its support for a Senate proposal to extend to 2015 current chemical-security standards, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which are set to expire this year. SOCMA is the US-based trade association representing custom and batch manufacturers, including contract manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical ingredients.

The Senate bill was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The bill was cosponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR).

“The bipartisan leadership shown by these senators is precisely what our nation needs when it comes to securing the homeland. We applaud them for ensuring the continuation of the comprehensive Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act Standards,” said Bill Allmond, SOCMA’s vice-president of government relations and ChemStewards, an environmental, health and safety program, in a SOCMA press release. “We hope this bill is the start of a new beginning toward a bipartisan solution to a permanent chemical security law.”

SOCMA opposes a measure passed by the House of Representatives last year that included inherently safer technology (IST) provisions in chemical security requirements. The IST provisions add a requirement to existing industry security standards to mandate process or chemical substitution of certain chemicals as directed by the US Department of Homeland Security. IST is a conceptual framework that covers chemical-processing procedures, equipment, protection and, when feasible, the use of safer substances.


Although SOCMA favors chemical-security measures, the group opposes mandating IST. In its press release, SOCMA cited testimony by Collins that referenced SOCMA's opposition to IST. “Forcing chemical facilities to implement IST could wreak economic havoc on some facilities and affect the availability of products that all Americans take for granted,” said Collins in her testimony as cited by the SOCMA release.“For instance, according to October 2009 testimony by the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, mandatory IST would negatively restrict the production of pharmaceuticals and microelectronics, unnecessarily crippling those industries."

SOCMA said that it will use its grassroots initiative, SOCMA Connect, to prepare a letter for SOCMA members to use to urge their senators to become a cosponsor of the Senate bill.

See related story, SOCMA Outlines its Legislative Goals for 2010