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 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
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.
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
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