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The Safe Chemicals Act is back and not a moment too soon

BPA in food can linings is one potential exposure route for toxic chemicals.

Used under creative commons license from istorija

With chemicals like chlorinated tris, a carcinogen, turning up infant changing table pads, the respiratory irritant formaldehyde in baby bath products and hormone disrupter, BPA in food can linings, what’s a parent to do? Parents try to protect their kids from exposures to toxic chemicals by making smart purchases, but they don’t have all the information they need to know what is harmful. It’s the government’s job to assure that harmful products don’t end up on store shelves in the first place. While states like Minnesota are taking action to protect children from toxic chemical exposures, federal action is also critical. The 37-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law regulating industrial chemicals in the U.S., is not doing the job.

A couple of years ago, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which proposed sweeping reforms of this toothless law. While the bill did get through one committee, it never made it through to the floor. The Safe Chemicals Act is back and both Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken are original co-sponsors. We thank Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken for being champions for protecting the health of our kids and families!  

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 would provide long overdue fixes to the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to health problems. It  would help prevent the use of persistent chemicals that build up in our food chain and go a long way toward protecting Americans from chemicals before they are linked to reproductive and developmental disorders, cancers and other illnesses that are costly to treat and often preventable. Specifically, it would:

  • Require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and restrict the "worst of the worst" chemicals
  • Require basic health and safety information for chemicals
  • Upgrade scientific methods for assessing chemical safety
  • Arm the EPA with the authority it needs to restrict chemicals that pose health and environmental concerns

People don’t need or want toxic chemicals in their consumer products. While many companies are reducing their use of toxic chemicals to meet consumer demand for safer products, voluntary action alone will not ensure product safety. Effective regulation, like the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, is a key driver toward safer chemistry and it embodies the concept of public health prevention. If we prevent toxic exposures that could harm health, we prevent the illnesses linked with those exposures. It’s just common sense public policy. Healthy Legacy is a member of Safer Chemicals, Health Families, working nationally to strengthen federal chemical policies to protect the health of families and children. Sign up to take action through Health Legacy in Minnesota.