The nation’s toxic chemical regulatory law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is in drastic need of reform. The industry-friendly act was passed in 1976 and has never been changed since that time. TSCA is widely regarded as the weakest of all major environmental laws on the books today. When passed, the Act declared some 62,000 chemicals that were on the market to be safe, even though there were little or no data to support this declaration. Since that time another 20,000 chemicals have been put into commerce in the United States; again, there was little or no data to support their safety. That’s unacceptable from a safety perspective and can’t be tolerated.
It’s widely believed that there are hundreds of industrial chemicals in use with little or no understanding of the environmental or health and safety consequences. Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Testing by Environmental Working Group has identified 455 chemicals in people, but, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe. We are at a tipping point, where the pollution in people is increasingly associated with a range of serious diseases and conditions from childhood cancer, to autism, ADHD, learning deficits, infertility, and birth defects. Although the knowledge about the link between chemical exposure and human disease grows, the government has almost no authority to protect people from exposure to even the most hazardous chemicals on the market.
Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representatives Hilda Solis and Henry Waxman have introduced bills in the House and Senate to protect Americans – especially children – from toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. Their bill, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act (KSCA), should be passed by Congress. The current law does not require chemicals to be proven safe to get on the market or stay on the market. Under TSCA, the EPA has no authority to demand the information it needs to evaluate a chemical’s risk. Neither manufacturers nor the EPA are required to prove a chemical’s safety as a condition of use, which is difficult – if not impossible – to understand. The Kid-Safe Chemical Act will change all this through a fundamental overhaul of our nation’s chemical regulatory law. Specifically, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act:
requires that industrial chemicals be safe for infants, kids and other vulnerable groups;
requires that new chemicals be safety tested before they are sold;
requires chemical manufacturers to test and prove that the 62,000 chemicals already on the market that have never been tested are safe in order for them to remain in commerce;
requires EPA to review “priority” chemicals, those which are found in people, on an expedited schedule;
requires regular biomonitoring to determine what chemicals are in people and in what amounts;
requires regular updates of health and safety data and provides EPA with clear authority to request additional information and tests;
provides incentives for manufacturers to further reduce health hazards;
requires EPA to promote safer alternatives and alternatives to animal testing;
protects state and local rights; and
requires that this information be publicly available.
Passage of the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act will give our children a safer and healthier future. If you agree, contact your U.S. Senators and House members and ask for their support. This is too important an issue for us to sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
Source: News Release from the office of Senator Lautenberg
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