Chemical Policy (TSCA)
There is widespread agreement that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the principle federal statute governing the use and safety of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives, is broken and needs to be reformed.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given responsibility but little authority to enforce TSCA. Enacted in 1976, this current law was broken from the start, grandfathering thousands of chemicals already on the market. This law is so broken and so weak that the EPA could not even ban asbestos, a cancer-causing substance that is still in use and killing thousands of Americans each year.
To date, the EPA has only reviewed a few hundred chemicals for safety. There are nearly 85,000 chemicals currently approved for use that the federal government and consumers know little to nothing about.
We need real toxic chemical reform that ensures protection of public health, especially to our vulnerable populations, and the environment from the hazards these chemicals pose.
In the coming months, congressional negotiators will try to reconcile two bills aimed at fixing the nation's broken and outdated chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act. As we’ve made lear time, time and time again, neither bill will fix what ails TSCA – a law so broken that the Environmental Protection Agency has only been able to regulate five chemicals since 1976.
Consumers rightly expect that the chemicals used in everyday products are safe. Under current law, however, few are ever reviewed for safety.
If Frank Lautenberg, Jim Jeffords, Barbara Boxer and Henry Waxman had summoned support for this version of toxic chemical reform 10 years ago, only the chemical industry would have rallied to their call. No wonder the parties most excited about the toxic chemicals “reform” bill the Senate passed yesterday are the very companies it purports to regulate and their closest allies in Congress, most notably Sen. David Vitter (R-La). In a sense, the chemical industry should be celebrating – this legislation originated with its lobbyists.
The most egregious flaw of the United States’ toothless and outdated system of regulating chemicals is the failure to adequately and independently test chemicals for safety. Because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s woeful shortage of resources, manufacturers submit their own data to vouch for new chemicals, and most studies of existing chemicals are conducted by for-profit consultants selected and paid by the very companies whose products they’re evaluating.
Conventional thinking about cancer prevention may overlook growing evidence that the combined effects of chemicals that are not carcinogenic on their own may be a significant cause of cancer, according to a new EWG analysis of a series of papers published last week in the scientific journal Carcinogenesis.Read More
The bill passed by the House of Representatives today to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 falls short of what’s necessary to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe, EWG said.
With all of the chemicals that get put into consumer products, it can be difficult to protect our children from toxic hazards. Knowing what to look for and what kids’ products contain harmful chemicals is the first step.
The legislative proposal issued today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee falls short of what’s necessary to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe, EWG said.
A revised proposal to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 still falls short of what’s necessary to ensure that chemicals are safe, EWG said today.
Ten years ago, DuPont was forced to phase out a key chemical in making Teflon, after revelations that for nearly 45 years the company covered up evidence of its health hazards, including cancer and birth defects. But a new EWG investigation finds that the chemicals pushed by DuPont and other companies to replace the Teflon chemical and similar perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs – already in wide use in food wrappers and outdoor clothing – may not be much – if at all – safer.Read More
Much more than a long memory is needed these days to recall the golden age of GOP environmentalism. A feat of imagination is required.
New legislation endorsed today by a Senate committee to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 is a shameful victory for the chemical industry that wrote the underlying bill and has fought long and hard to avoid strong environmental protections.Read More
New legislation to update TSCA falls far short of what’s necessary to ensure that chemicals are safe.Read More
The fight for chemical safety is on!
It’s time for Congress to hear from you – that you’re fighting for real reform and your family’s health. Take a stand today and join EWG’s #FightForChemicalSafety campaign! All you have to do is post a photo on social media of you or someone or something in your life that you’re fighting for.Read More
Are intentionally engineered nanoparticles being added to our food? We don’t know for sure – and federal food regulators aren’t helping us find out the truth.
As the Congressional debate over how to fix the failed Toxic Substances Control Act heats up, we have to ask: What would it take for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the safety of every major chemical on the market?Read More
EWG opposes the draft legislation put forth by U.S. Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) to update the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The proposal will not keep the public safe from hazardous chemicals, EWG said.
American industry often avoids the federal government’s chemical safety checks in an unexpected way, by relying on chemicals “grandfathered” by the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group.