Green America: Toxics Reform Legislation Needs to Be Strengthened

Source: Photographer

WASHINGTON, DCJune 24, 2015Will 2015 be the year we finally achieve meaningful US toxic chemical reform? After decades of neglecting the issue, Congress is now taking action – but unfortunately the policies being advanced continue to fall short of the steps needed to truly protect people and the planet. Many people assume that chemicals in the marketplace are safe, but to the detriment of human and environmental health, this is not the case. Current law has regulated only five chemicals – while 85,000 chemicals are in use.

On June 23, the House voted on the Toxic Substances Modernization Act (HR 2576) and passed the bill overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. Green America advocated for strengthening the bill which still favors the chemical industry over the needs of our communities. Among the improvements needed is the ability to allow the EPA to take the lead in determining which chemicals get evaluated. Instead, the bill enables the chemical industry to identify an unlimited number of chemicals for mandatory review while the EPA is allowed to select merely 10 chemicals for review -- and can only review them if funding is available. The EPA, not the chemical industry, should identify the most dangerous chemicals in need of review and have the resources to do this work.

Fran Teplitz, Green America’s Executive Co-Director for Policy, stated: “With American lives at stake due to toxic chemical exposures, the federal government needs to play a strong role in regulating toxins. Green America urges Congress to build on the just-passed House bill on toxic chemical control and to develop a policy that protects people, the environment, and that advances safer chemical options."

Todd Larsen, Green America’s Executive Co-Director for Consumer Programs, added: “It is unconscionable that tens of thousands of toxic chemicals are allowed in the marketplace, in our homes, and on our bodies, without strong oversight. We need chemical policy that puts human needs at the forefront, not industry profits.”

Green America strongly urges the House to work with the Senate to fundamentally reform toxic chemical law so that public health and the environmental are protected at the highest level. Green America continues to oppose the Senate toxic chemical reform bill, S. 697, which has not yet faced a vote and which would actually set back progress on chemical regulation that has succeeded on the state level.

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems (