Today Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, an ambitious bill aimed at revamping the 34-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. This is not the first time Congress has attempted to fix our nation's flawed system for regulating toxic chemicals, but it is the first time that both chemical industry lobbyists and public health advocates agree that we can't delay change any longer — the scientific evidence is too overwhelming; the public outcry too loud.
Senator Lautenberg was quoted in today's Washington Post explaining: "We're saying those who make the chemicals ...ought to be responsible for testing them first before they're release to the public, instead of having the EPA play detective to search and try to find problems." Read Senator Lautenberg's press release.
The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition greets the Safe Chemicals Act with enthusiasm (see our press release), and supports the goals of the bill. However, we plan to work closely with Congress to fine-tune the legislation to make sure it reflects the concerns of the health care providers, scientists, advocates for the learning and developmentally disabled, and all the millions of individuals we represent. We will post a more in-depth analysis tomorrow, after our policy team has had more time to digest this landmark legislation.
"The Safe Chemicals Act goes a long way toward bringing chemical policy into the 21st Century. We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill to keep dangerous chemicals out of the marketplace," said coalition director Andy Igrejas.
So far, public health advocates and chemical industry representatives are united in their desire to see serious reform. As the bill is debated in Congress, we expect to see sharp differences over how soon, and how much to change the current system. That’s why we are asking you to take action today: add your voice to the chorus demanding swift and substantial change — not half measures or delays.