Regulate Cancer Causing Chemicals Properly

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Target: United States Congress

Goal: Ensure proper regulation of toxic chemicals.

The United States’ system of regulating harmful chemicals is outdated and woefully inadequate. Current regulations, established under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), have not been updated in decades. According to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition comprised of leading public health and environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), “there are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market, which have never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on human health and environment.”

Furthermore, under TSCA, manufacturers are not required to prove a chemical is safe; the burden of proof is on the regulators. As Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate’s Environmental and Public works committee stated during committee hearings in July, “the EPA has to prove it is unsafe” before it is restricted or banned. As a result of our current law, many chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems such as breast cancer, like BPA found in everyday plastics, are still on the market.

We have the opportunity to take action now by passing the Safe Chemicals Act, which passed the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee in July 2012. If passed, the landmark legislation would constitute a major overhaul of our current regulatory system. A press release by the office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D -N.J), who introduced the bill, outlines what the legislation would achieve. It would restrict chemicals currently in use that have not been proven to be safe. It would also require that chemicals be demonstrated to be safe before they reach market. Moreover, it would require manufacturers to provide health and safety information on the chemicals used in their products, and make such information available through a public database, along with EPA reports.

These reforms are long overdue and would greatly increase the health and safety of the American public. Make your voice heard. By signing the petition below, you are helping pressure congress to pass this essential legislation.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator,

Millions of Americans are exposed to a soup of harmful chemicals every day, often in their own homes. Our current system of regulating chemicals has not been significantly updated since the passage of the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. It is outdated and inadequate. By not requiring that manufacturers prove their products are safe, and thereby placing the burden of proof on regulators, Americans’ health is at serious risk.

The Safe Chemicals Act is a desperately needed update to our current law. Along with restricting harmful chemicals currently on the market and providing the public with critical information about the products they use every day, it would reverse the burden of proof by requiring manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of their products before they reach market.

Not only is passing the chemical safety act the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense. It would cut healthcare costs by creating a healthier population. It would also increase the competitiveness of American products. The E.U and Canada have strict safety requirements on their products. In order for American goods to compete in the global marketplace, they must meet rigorous safety standards. The law will also spur innovation and create jobs by requiring manufacturers to develop safer, cutting edge products to serve the public good.

I urge you to take a vital step in protecting the health and safety of every American by voting yes on the Chemical Safety Act.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: futurestreet via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Our everyday products are laden with toxic chemicals, petroleum distillates and volatile organic compounds. Most of them are not regulated because they are regarded as secret patents. This applies to laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer strips, fragrances and air fresheners, to which people are exposed 24/7, indoors, outdoors and in the workplace. High efficiency laundry technology has replaced most of the water with solvents so that our clothing always off gasses fumes. If one load of laundry fumes perfumes a whole neighborhood, isn’t this overkill, and why are corporations permitted to do this?

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