Safe Chemicals Headed To The Hill- 36 Years Late

By: Rachel Sarnoff

Senator Lautenberg celebrates on Capitol Hill. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Ready for some big news? The Senate voted to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This may sound like just more political posturing to some, but for those of us involved in children’s environmental health, it’s a ridiculously big deal.

What’s the big deal about TSCA? It was passed in 1976 and hasn’t been touched since. It’s the reason we have flame retardants in our kids’ mattresses andBPA in their baby bottles (until recently).

Senator Frank Lautenberg has sponsored the Safe Chemicals Act each year since 2005. If the bill becomes law, it will be the first time that manufacturers would have to submit health and safety data for the chemicals that they produce.

And the EPA would have the power to restrict chemicals that cannot be proven safe — under TSCA, the EPA can only require safety testing after a chemical has demonstrated hazardous toxicity. According to the Chicago Tribune, “the EPA acknowledges that it knows little, if anything, about the safety of most of the 84,000 industrial compounds in commercial use in the U.S.”

The Senate, which voted on party lines — all Democrats in favor of reform; all Republicans opposed — is still under pressure from lobbying groups like the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates and will need bipartisan support to proceed.

I think those that voted for reform should be supported and those who are against it should know better, don’t you? That’s why I spent yesterday tweeting their names. Care to join me?

 

Senator Lautenberg celebrates on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

@FrankLautenberg, @EPWChairBoxer, @MaxBaucus, @SenatorCarper, @SenatorCardin, @SenSanders, @SenJeffMerkley, @SenGilligrand, @SenWhitehouse & @SenatorTomUdall all voted 4 the #SafeChemicalsAct.

Shame on @jiminhofe, @DavidVitter, @SenJohnBarrasso, @SenatorSessions, @MikeCrapo,  @SenAlexander, @Mike_Johanns & @JohnBoozman, who all voted against. (Twitter handles courtesy of @SaferChemicals.)

Feel like getting involved? Tweet this!

You can find more on Rachel at Mommygreenest.  She also founded EcoStiletto.com, and appeared on Today and CNN to talk about a judgment-free, eco-conscious lifestyle. She is the former Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and was editor-in-chief of Children magazine before she had kids. Rachel lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, who range in age from preschooler to teen. You can follow her on twitter @rachellsarnoff

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