Got a News Tip for NaturalNews? Send us your news tip, and we'll investigate!

U.S. Senate considers bill to overhaul outdated chemical safety regulation law

Posted: August 2, 2013 |   Comments

( The main law that regulates chemicals in products we use every day is called the Toxic Substance Control Act. Most people and organizations with an interest in the safety of the chemicals we use, including environmental groups and chemical companies, agree that the law is outdated.

Rebecca Meuninck, the Environmental Health Campaign Director with the Ecology Center in Arbor, says, "TSCA or the Toxic Substances Control Act, was passed in 1976 and it's never been reformed and unfortunately it's sort of been broken from the start. This is a bill that didn't actually have enough teeth for the EPA to ban asbestos for example. We have many thousands of chemicals; up to 80,000 have been approved at one point or another for use in consumer products or in the marketplace. Unfortunately there's a lot of data EPA doesn't have and that companies actually aren't required to give EPA."

According to her, around 65,000 chemicals were grandfathered in when the bill passed.

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill to overhaul TSCA. Wednesday, a Senate committee heard testimony from the chemical industry, health and environmental groups.

The bill has received bipartisan support and according to Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, it will give the EPA more authority while also protecting business interests.

Not everyone supports this bill however, attorney generals from nine states signed a letter stating that they want their states to have the right to make their own laws on chemical safety. According to them, the new bill would make that difficult or even impossible to do.

Dooley says that a single uniform federal standard on chemical safety would be a better alternative, "We don't want to have 50 standards out there that impede commerce and impede the interests of manufacturers in Michigan or California or Maine or wherever they reside."

The attorney generals responded to that argument, saying that states have had a long history of regulating chemicals and state laws can complement federal regulations, making the laws more enforceable.

Environmental groups have different concerns regarding the bill. Rebecca Meunick says that although the bill is a step in the right direction, the Ecology center won't support it unless certain changes are introduced.

"We know a lot more through emerging science of the effects of chemicals on children, the developing fetus, pregnant women; communities that are disproportionately burdened by pollution, and the bill doesn't explicitly require the safety determinations in TSCA to consider those vulnerable populations," she says.

Two of the bill's sponsors say they're going to make some clarifications based on Wednesday's hearings. A rewrite could come in the fall.

Have a Comment? Share it...

comments powered by Disqus