Industry Poised to Clash with California Over Chemical Testing

California, ever on the cutting edge of environmental policy, is considering following the lead of the European Union by requiring more safety testing of chemicals — a move the chemical industry doesn’t plan to take lying down. According to a memo from the American Chemical Council leaked to the Environmental Working Group, the industry is contemplating an undercover campaign to derail efforts to require companies to prove that their chemicals are safe prior to marketing them. (Currently, the burden of proof falls on consumer groups or government agencies to prove that a chemical already on the market is harmful.) The ACC, which represents most chemical manufacturers in the U.S., denied that it was launching a campaign but acknowledged circulating a note outlining a plan to “stigmatize” advocates of chemical testing and create a so-called “independent … watchdog group” to propagate pro-industry information.