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Why the Safe Chemicals Act is good for business

Posted on December 17, 2012

SCA is good for business By Lindsay Dahl

It’s an old paradigm – the idea that protecting public health, the environment and a thriving businesses economy are somehow at odds. But as you might imagine, old sayings die hard in Washington. 

In response, today our partners at the American Sustainable Business Council are bringing some business leaders to Washington to let Congress know that protecting our health and a vibrant business can go hand in hand.

We know that strong laws on toxic chemicals are good for business, and fosters innovation. That is reflected by the many businesses that are apart of our coalition and are working hard to make safe products, while demanding that Congress improve our laws on toxic chemicals. You can read a great article about how Ohio business owner of Naturpedic, Barry Cik, is advocating for stronger laws.

Recent polling of small businesses in America found strong support for reforming our laws on toxic chemicals. (Our partners at the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) commissioned the poll, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners.)

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Small business owners understand that toxic chemicals post a threat to people’s health and support stricter regulation and disclosure of toxic chemicals. 75% support stricter regulation of chemicals used in everyday products. 
  • Nearly all small business owners believe there should be publicly accessible database indentifying toxic chemicals, and nearly all believe manufacturers should be held responsible for chemical safety. 
  • Most business owners explicitly support government regulation of the products companies buy and sell, and nearly three out of four support a proposed reform to federal law requiring manufacturers to show their chemicals are safe.

Many product manufacturers and retailers see the benefit to updating our laws. Currently, they lack adequate information on chemical health effects, just like we do as consumers. So if federal law required basic health and safety information for chemicals, as proposed under the Safe Chemicals Act, product manufacturers would be able to make more informed decisions about the products they make.

It seems reasonable to put the responsibility on chemical manufacturers to demonstrate chemical safety, ensuring a safer supply chain. Many workers and downstream businesses would benefit from such a reformed system.

Our coalition is also proud to have many labor union members, who are advocating for reform to help protect the health of workers and spur innovation in the U.S. chemical industry. The Blue Green Alliance commissioned a report that found major opportunities for growth in U.S. based manufacturing by shifting from petroleum based plastic to plant base materials. 

It’s nearly 2013 and time we change the narrative that regulations kill jobs, hurt the economy or are inherently bad. The Safe Chemicals Act strikes a fair balance between protecting our health and allowing businesses to innovate safer, greener chemicals.

I look forward to working with our business partners in the New Year. If you’re a business owner interested in joining our coalition, you can sign up here.

For case studies on how some businesses are benefiting from moving away from toxic chemicals, you can read more here.

To follow Lindsay on Twitter: @Lindsay_SCHF


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