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.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer. It is almost always caused by inhaling tiny asbestos fibers, which pass through the lungs and become embedded in the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds the internal organs.Read More
There’s a growing consensus – except in the chemical industry and among its lobbyists and allies in Congress – that when it comes to protecting people and the environment from dangerous chemicals, the latest proposal to “reform” the nation’s outdated toxics law is a step in exactly the wrong direction.Read More
At the behest of the chemical industry, the Obama administration today backed off its effort to regulate a handful of widely used and highly toxic substances found in many consumer goods.Read More
Earlier this year a disturbing study showed that the brominated fire retardant TBBPA, which is widely used in consumer products, triggers cancer in lab animals. Now a new study suggests that the chemical may do so by interfering with the hormone system and may stimulate estrogen activity in much the same way as the toxic flame retardant it replaced.Read More
Everybody – environmentalists and chemical industry executives alike – wants to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. “Outdated” doesn’t begin to describe a law that was cumbersome and weak on the day President Ford signed it – Oct. 11, 1976, to be exact – the day the Chinese government arrested the Gang of Four and the top-selling single was Disco Duck Part I.
These days, legislation rarely makes it through Congress without support from interest groups on both sides of the issue, forcing lawmakers to draft bills that are largely balanced. Now, however, the American people are being pushed by big polluters to accept “chemical safety” legislation advanced by one of Washington’s most ardent anti-environmental advocates, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), that has virtually zero support in the environmental and public health communities.Read More
Ken Cook tells the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that a chemical-industry backed bill would severely undermine public health and the environment.Read More
Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today that toxic chemicals “are polluting people’s bodies – our blood, our fatty tissue and even breast milk.”Read More
What you can’t see can be deadly: virtually invisible, yet absolutely lethal asbestos fibers lead to environmental and occupational diseases that claim the lives of 30 Americans every day.Read More
Testimony of Kenneth A. Cook
Environmental Working Group
Savvy consumers know that cosmetics do not have to be tested and proved safe before making it onto store shelves. Consumer protections for personal care products are outdated and broken, so shoppers must do their own legwork to ensure that the products they buy are safe – by reading labels and using resources such as EWG’s Skin Deep database.Read More
Heather White testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy on Regulation of New Chemicals, Protection of Confidential Business Information, and InnovationRead More
Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, told a House hearing today that under current law chemical manufacturers can market new chemicals without giving federal regulators safety tests.Read More
ORAL TESTIMONY – HEATHER WHITE
Environmental Working Group
Before theRead More
The Chemical Safety Improvement Act introduced in May lacks key reforms considered critical during earlier Congressional efforts to protect people from dangerous industrial chemicals. The gold standard is the Kid Safe Chemicals Act, introduced in 2005 by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. This bill is the pivotal legislation that launched the chemical reform movement in the 21st Century.Read More
Over the last several weeks, officials of the three state agencies charged with protecting California residents from toxic chemical exposures have issued stark warnings about legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate to modernize the federal toxics management law.Read More
Having lived and worked in California most of my life (and spent the last 12 years at EWG), I could not be more proud of my state’s long-time leadership in protecting public health and the environment.Read More
Industrial chemicals are everywhere in daily life — in personal care products, furniture, household cleaners, toys, and even peanut butter. Because some chemicals once thought harmless have been linked to cancer, neurological problems, asthma, heart disease and other disorders, Americans deserve a strong federal law that ensures that the chemicals they encounter are as safe as possible.Read More
Asbestos killed my grandfather, Roger Thomas Lunder. I was a graduate student and studying for a final on the night of December 6, 2000, when my father called to tell me that granddad had died.
At that moment I was reviewing a chapter on occupational lung diseases. The textbook language -- "For decades asbestos has been known to cause cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, and serious respiratory diseases…" – seemed cold and clinical when I reflected on the slow, terrifying lung deterioration my grandfather had experienced over the past 14 years.Read More