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.
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
Why would 34 lawyers and law professors, 24 national non-profit organizations and 13 California-based groups all write Congress to oppose something called the Chemical Safety Improvement Act?Read More
The industry-backed Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 could be worse for the public than the law now on the books — the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.Read More
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has warned Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, that the Chemical Safety Improvement Act introduced in the Senate May 22 would undermine a California law aimed at protecting the public from toxic chemicals in consumer products.Read More
In a blog posted yesterday (June 5), Richard Denison, senior scientist at EDF, sought to explain why his organization supported the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, introduced May 22 by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La. The Environmental Working Group opposes the bil. Dave Andrews, Ph.D., EWG Senior Scientist, has sent this response to EDF.Read More
Environmental Working Group President and co-founder Ken Cook issued the following statement on the passing of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) whose long and distinguished career protecting the environment and public health “positively touched the lives of virtually every singleAmerican.”Read More
A lot of people assume a company can’t sell a chemical until it is has been proved safe.
They’re wrong. Under current law, the Environmental Protection Agency is charged with determining that a chemical is not likely to present an unreasonable risk before it goes on the market. Yet an analysis of the EPA’s approval process has found that the agency has been making that critical decision even though it has not received health and safety data for 85 percent of the new chemicals concocted by the chemical industry. The federal government’s regulatory framework places the burden on EPA to show that chemicals are unsafe instead of forcing chemical companies to show that their creations are safe.Read More
It came like a bolt out of the blue last week (May 21) when two influential senators announced they had come up with a bipartisan “compromise” proposal to update the outdated federal law that’s supposed to govern the use and safety of toxic chemicals. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and David Vitter (R-La.), lead sponsors of the new bill titled the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act,” called it the long-sought solution to fixing the notorious weaknesses of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, the only major U.S. environmental law that has never been brought up to date. Their proposal has garnered widespread praise from the chemical industry and lukewarm support from some members of the environmental community.Read More
The Chemical Safety Improvement Act introduced by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., is an “unacceptably weak response to the chemical exposure problems American families face every day,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said today.Read More
We need safe cosmetics reform now!
Mercury in mascara? Lead in lipstick? Scientific studies have shown that many common personal care products contain dangerous chemicals. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database evaluates nearly 80,000 personal care products and close to 10,000 ingredients in these consumer products.Read More
Earlier this year, when Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) announced his plans to retire, he listed several issues he wants to see through to a successful conclusion before the end of his term. One of them is passage of the Safe Chemicals Act.
The senator has been a champion for consumer safety throughout his Senate career, and this vital bill to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure that chemicals in consumer products are safe is a prime example.Read More
Legislation introduced today by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would overhaul the way synthetic chemicals are regulated. Lautenberg’s proposal would for the first time place the burden of proof on chemical companies to ensure the substances they create in the lab are safe for human health and the environment before they are allowed on the market.Read More
March is Women’s History Month, when the nation honors the many women who have had a lasting impact on American culture, history and women’s rights.Read More
In his State of the Union address, President Obama perpetuated a misleading idea -- that natural gas can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.Read More
Two years ago, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced the Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act, more commonly known as Trevor's Law. Although the full committee endorsed the bill last year, it never came to a vote in the full Senate.Read More
Environmental Working Group called today’s release of draft risk assessments of five chemicals found in paint strippers, fire retardants, degreasers, fragrances and other consumer products a positive step by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but EWG emphasized that the agency’s action “also underscores the need for true chemical policy reform.”Read More