Lindsay Dahl

New polling confirms toxics issue shares broad bi-partisan support

By Liz Hitchcock, Legislative Director

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in Washington this week. The heat is on Congress to take action to protect American families from exposures to toxic chemicals. And new polling released today confirms what we already know: addressing toxic chemicals is a winning issue and shares broad bipartisan support.

Here’s what’s been turning up the heat on the hill:

  • Forty-seven state legislators sent a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, outlining the chemical industry’s deceptive lobby practices to defeat efforts to ban toxic flame retardants in state legislatures across the country. It also asks the committee to hold hearings on the flame retardant scandal and to mark up the Safe Chemicals Act.
  • Late the next day, we learned that the committee will hold a hearing on toxic flame retardants next week! One of the all-star witnesses is Maine’s former Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree who led the campaign for her state’s ban on certain flame retardants and who is now expecting her second child. (The hearing will be webcast live – we’ll post the link as soon as we have it.)
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) convened a hearing on flame retardants where he said, “… reporting by the Chicago Tribune has shown that generations of Americans have been asked to tolerate exposure to potentially toxic chemicals in their furniture in the name of fire safety. If this isn’t a call to arms … I don’t know what is.”
  • Senator Frank Lautenberg, author of the Safe Chemicals Act noted that “the American public has become a living, breathing repository for chemical substances,” as he addressed the standing room only audience.  Coverage of the hearing is available here.

New Polling

Our drumbeat continues today as we release new public opinion polling showing that the vast majority of Americans agree that now is the time to reform chemical regulation.  Leading pollster Mark Mellman surveyed voters in Ohio, Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri and Nevada—six diverse states with contentious Senate races this fall.  Other national polling by our partners at the Natural Resources Defense Council confirms this trend. Their polling can be found here.

Here are links to all the state polls:

Michigan

Missouri and Nevada (along with MT, OH, PA, WI)

New Mexico

National poll

According to the Mellman polling data, a vast majority of Democrats and Independents support stricter regulations on chemicals, with majorities of Republicans also supporting in Ohio (58%), Nevada (50%), Pennsylvania (68%), and Wisconsin (53%). In all six states, an overwhelming majority of women voters favored more regulation on chemicals.

After hearing both sides of the debate, a majority in each state preferred a candidate for political office who supports the reforming toxic chemical policy. Voters said that this issue is powerful enough to override their traditional political allegiances, with a majority of Republican voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin saying that they would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who supported chemical reform.

In this week’s flame retardant hearing, EPA assistant administrator Jim Jones said that every passing year makes reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act more urgent.  I couldn’t agree more. These new polling numbers should turn the heat up on Congress to take action this year.

Take action here!

Read our press release here.