We’ve been calling for comprehensive chemical safety reform for years to protect all of us from exposure to chemicals that increase our risk of breast cancer. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the nation’s main law to regulate chemicals used in everyday products. However, it has not been updated since it was passed in 1976. Now, a bill before the Senate threatens to move us in the wrong direction at a time when we need real reform more than ever.
After years of pressure by activists, the chemical industry knows that the growing call for chemical safety reform is being heard by federal lawmakers. That’s why the industry is working so hard to protect its interests by undermining efforts at real reform and promoting their own industry-friendly bill. Instead of offering the strongest protection for public health, Senate bill, S. 697, would actually make current chemical safety laws even worse.
Tell your Senator that you want real reform to protect public health—not weak, industry-friendly laws that don’t give the EPA the tools they need to do their job.
- Establish Funding, Timetables and Deadlines: This should go without saying, but the EPA must have adequate funding as well as a realistic implementation schedule that requires compliance from the chemical industry.
- Protect Heavily Impacted Communities: Ensuring environmental justice means that the EPA must place a special focus on reducing toxic chemicals in “hot spot” communities—those that are heavily impacted by chemical exposures.
- Expedite Action on the Worst Chemicals: Meaningful reform must eliminate unnecessary red tape that can cause the EPA major delays in getting dangerous chemicals off the market. That’s why strong TSCA reform must allow for expedited action on the most toxic chemicals.
- Allow for Stronger Laws: In response to the EPA’s failure to protect the public from chemicals of concern, states or regions will often enact chemical safety laws that are tougher than current federal law. We must not allow federal chemical regulation to override and undermine these stronger laws.
- Adhere to the Precautionary Principle: Where existing evidence points to health harm from chemical exposure, the EPA must act to protect public health from the threat of harm even in the absence of definitive scientific data, until and unless the chemical is proven safe.
- Place the Burden of Proof on the Chemical Industry: Chemical regulations must not assume that chemicals are safe unless proven otherwise. Rather than require the EPA to demonstrate proof of harm, industry must provide proof of safety.
We’ve waited far too long for protection from toxic chemicals to allow our lawmakers to pass a bill that’s a thinly-veiled gift to the industry and a blow to our health.