Chemical safety advocates are taking it to the states (1/19)
January 19, 2011
In the absence of federal-level action, lawmakers in 30 states are expected today to introduce legislation to strengthen chemical safety in household products in their states, according to the Washington Toxics Coalition.
Bills to be considered in the 30 states include: bans on BPA and hazardous flame retardants in consumer products; requirements that children's product manufacturers use only the safest chemicals and resolutions urging Congress to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) - the federal law that allows dangerous and untested chemicals to be used in everyday products and materials
"With over half of state legislatures introducing policies that protect kids and families from toxic chemicals, Congress and chemical industry lobbyists should take notice, said Laurie Valeriano, policy director of the coalition. “As long as toxic chemicals such as cadmium and BPA remain in consumer products, states will continue to pass commonsense policies to address this serious public health threat."
The group said the multi-state effort is prompted by the rise in chronic diseases linked to toxic chemical exposure.
"A substantial body of scientific research shows that the public is exposed to chemicals that increase the risk of serious health threats, including cancer, asthma, infertility, and learning and developmental disabilities," said Dr. Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. "For most chemicals, no government agency has the authority to require safety testing before they are put into widespread use. It's an uncontrolled experiment, and individuals and families across the country are paying the price."
The coalition said that in failing to pass TSCA reform legislation three times in the last six years, Congress “has heeded the aggressive opposition of chemical industry lobbyists rather than the support of the American electorate.”
According to Bloomberg.com, The American Chemical Society, a trade group for chemical industry professionals, spent $40,000 in the third quarter of last year to lobby the government on a variety of issues from education to the environment.
In addition to activity on the state level, the issue will be taken up again at the federal level in 2011, with new TSCA reform bills expected to be introduced in Congress.