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.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) recently authored the Chemicals in Commerce Act, a discussion draft of legislation purporting to reform our nation’s weak and outdated chemicals management law, the Toxic Substances Control Act.Read More
Should chemicals we encounter every day be safe?
You’d think the answer would be an obvious and resounding “yes.” But if you ask chemical companies – or some lawmakers – they say that “safe” is relative. In their view, chemical companies should be able to use dangerous chemicals if restricting their use to protect people would be too costly.Read More
When 300,000 West Virginians went without water for three weeks earlier this year, most Americans were shocked to learn that health officials and the government didn’t know much about the licorice-smelling chemical that had leaked from a storage facility into the Elk River near Charleston. Hundreds of residents contacted the state’s Poison Control Center to report nausea, vomiting and rashes. Weeks after officials lifted the water ban, complaints of the licorice odor continue and the long-term health effects of the coal-processing substance – 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (Crude MCHM) – are still unknown.
The state of California has launched an important initiative to protect its residents from exposures to toxic substances by calling on industry to find safer alternatives for three widely used chemicals, Environmental Working Group said today in a statement.Read More
Legislation proposed by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) to reform federal chemicals management law would leave the public at even greater risk of exposure to toxic substances than under the outdated current law, said Environmental Working Group in a statement today.Read More
Washington, D.C. – EWG executive director Heather White said that personal care products giant Johnson & Johnson has taken a major step forward by reformulating about 100 of its baby products to remove a potentially harmful chemical and to reduce levels of a second problematic substance.Read More
On January 9, more than 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to process coal – crude MCHM – spilled into West Virginia’s Elk River at a facility owned by Freedom Industries.Read More
EWG executive director Heather White assigned much of the blame for the devastating chemical spill in West Virginia to the nation’s lax chemical safety laws.Read More
EWG’s New Year’s resolution for cosmetic manufacturers: shed bad actor ingredients that disrupt the hormone system, cause allergies and may accelerate skin cancer.Read More
The federal Food and Drug administration has announced proposed rules that could drive unnecessary and potentially dangerous products from the market -- antibacterial hand soaps like those marketed by Dial, Softsoap and CVS.
This is a big deal.Read More
he Environmental Working Group has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the White House to learn whether industry improperly influenced the government’s decision to drop two proposals to strengthen public health protections from toxic chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency withdrew the proposals in September after they had been bottled up at the White House Office of Management and Budget for more than a year.Read More
A hearing at the House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee yesterday surfaced deep doubts about a chemical industry-backed bill introduced earlier this year in the Senate to update the nation’s chemicals safety law.Read More
The Chemical Safety Improvement Act proposed in the Senate “fails to protect public health and the environment and allows chemical companies to keep conducting business as usual, which is the reason all Americans, including babies in the womb, are polluted with hundreds of toxic chemicals,” said Jason Rano, Environmental Working Group’s Director of Government Affairs.Read More
In the United States, the framework for safeguarding people and the environment against the dangers of toxic chemicals comprises three mutually reinforcing legal systems: federal regulation, state and federal civil justice systems, and state regulation. Each part of the framework however, has been substantially weakened — the civil justice systems by years of tort "reform," and federal and state regulatory systems by outdated laws and an ongoing campaign by industry and its allies against protective regulation.Read More
EWG and the Keep A Breast Foundation today released a guide to educate consumers about some of the most problematic hormone-altering chemicals that people are routinely exposed to. EWG parntered with KAB to develop the Dirty Dozen list of endocrine disruptors to highlight the prevalence of these toxic chemicals, how they affect our health and simple ways to avoid them.Read More
The State of California’s proposed drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, could leave roughly 24 million residents, or more than 60 percent of the state’s population, unprotected from the known carcinogen, according to a review of the proposal by Environmental Working Group, Clean Water Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Public Environmental Oversight and Integrated Resource Management.Read More
At EWG, we know how much you care about the safety of personal care products. Over the next several weeks we will delve deeper into some of the crucial issues surrounding these products. EWG's investigative series, "Exposing the Cosmetics Cover-Up," will take on a wide range of topics that should be on the minds of everyone who uses a personal care product. As EWG has long known — and as leading medical specialists recently underscored -- many cosmetics and personal care products contain potentially toxic ingredients. Major cosmetics companies have not publicly committed themselves to removing harmful ingredients. We'll look at deceptive claims made by some popular anti-aging products. And we'll help you sort out cosmetics safety facts from myths.
I had two challenging pregnancies filled with uncertainty and stress. Thankfully, the end result was two healthy kids. One thing was certain, though – I could handle the truth. I wanted all the facts and I wanted to make my own decisions about what to eat, when to exercise, when to sleep. When it comes to our health and the health of our kids, most of the parents I know will choose the advice and opinions of doctors over the chemical industry’s false reassurance every day.Read More
There are safe, affordable alternatives to the dangerous chemicals like the ones used in the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded in April. But instead of making the switch, the chemical industry has chosen to spend its money lobbying Congress so that it can keep putting millions needlessly at risk. And up until now, that strategy was working.Read More
There are more than 12,000 chemical plants that put Americans at risk with large amounts of chemicals, and 89 of those endanger more than 1 million people. Unfortunately, those most at risk in the examples below live in low-income communities of color.Read More