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In TSCA Reform, We Must Put Public Health First

03 Apr 2014  |   Hannah Blatt

You may not know it, but we’re all exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals every day. Dangerous, unregulated chemicals can be found in common products we use on a daily basis, like our carpets, couches, cleaning products, and baby products have been linked to serious health problems. But unfortunately, we can’t simply shop our way around these toxic chemicals.

It will take action by Congress to keep consumers safe, but a draft proposal in the House, the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA), does nothing to protect the public from toxic chemicals and is simply a giveaway to Big Chemical. 

TSCA was passed in 1976, but has never achieved its goal of keeping dangerous chemicals out of commerce. The broken law actually hinders the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to protect the public from exposure to these harmful chemicals. With 85,000 chemicals on the market, the EPA has only been able to require testing of a small percentage of them and has restricted just five. That’s despite the fact that many of these unregulated chemicals continue to be linked to serious health problems, including childhood cancers, infertility and learning disabilities.   

Instead of taking action on meaningful reform, the House of Representatives is considering CICA, a truly awful bill which sets out to gut the little progress we’ve been able to make on toxic chemicals. This legislation continues TSCA’s fatal flaw of placing the costs to industry over the health of the American people, and would also rollback the small steps EPA has recently taken to restrict certain uses of chemicals. Even worse, it would also preempt actions by the states, one place where we’ve actually been able to make significant progress on ridding our products of toxic chemicals. 

CICA takes us backwards on a law that is already severely broken and does nothing to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and keep consumers safe. We need members of the House of Representatives to stand up to the chemical industry and stop this bill in its tracks. It’s time for Congress to put protecting public health ahead of protecting the chemical industry.

(Spray Bottle image courtesy of judith511’s Flickr page)


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