Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was credited recently for rallying bipartisan support in the Senate for the first update of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
It appears to be an example of the careful policy-setting work that the U.S. Senate should be doing.
After all, a former governor like Manchin knows a thing or two about the importance of getting regulation right - and the economic impact on real people when regulators get it wrong.
Under current law, the Environmental Protection Agency can initiate testing of a chemical "only if evidence surfaces that the substance is dangerous," wrote Brad Plumer of The Washington Post. "What's more, tens of thousands of existing chemicals were exempt from review when the law was enacted in 1976."
Of 84,000 chemicals registered in the United States, the EPA has deemed dangerous and banned only five.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found at least 212 chemicals in people, including at least six known carcinogens and dozens that are linked to cancer, birth defects and other diseases.
Clearly, there is a need to update the law.
Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said they had reached an agreement to do so. It drew eight Democratic senators, including Manchin, and eight Republican co-sponsors.
The Lautenberg-Vitter Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 would let the EPA:
* Review all actively used chemicals and label them as high or low priority based on their potential risk to human health and the environment. High-priority substances would get further review.