More Needed To Protect Human & Environmental Health in U.S. Toxic Substances Reform

Source: Photographer
Senate Measure Improved, But Key Elements Still Need Strengthening

WASHINGTON, DC - December 18, 2015  – Changes will be needed to the toxic chemical reform bill passed last night by a voice vote in the U.S. Senate, according to the nonprofit Green America.

“Advocates for the overhaul of U.S. toxic chemical policy that we need have been working for years for a fundamentally new federal approach to safeguarding our communities and the environment. The Senate bill passed last night is an improvement over earlier versions and the crucial next step now is to strengthen its provisions, in conference with the stronger House bill, so we truly protect families, children, workers, and the environment from the toxic chemicals,” said Fran Teplitz, executive co-director of Green America.

Key areas still in need of strengthening in the Senate measure include protection for states’ ability to implement stringent chemical controls where the federal government fails to do so, and also the need to regulate imported products made with toxic chemicals that the U.S. bans.

On the positive side, the bill ensures that human and environmental health are the basis for assessing chemical safety – a major improvement over the approach in the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), our current policy, which includes mandatory cost-benefit analysis. There is also support for the advancement of green chemistry, a funding mechanism for safety reviews, and some improvement to the transparency measures related to confidential business information. The group noted TSCA has failed since its very inception to protect people and the planet from toxic chemicals, including toxins like asbestos that have brought disease and death to thousands of Americans. In nearly 40 years, TSCA has only banned five chemicals.

“We welcome the efforts to improve current U.S. toxic chemical policy that are underway and look forward to a final policy that truly protects people and the planet from toxins and that meaningfully advances green chemistry that will benefit human and environmental health and strengthen our economy,”Teplitz added.

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

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