Policy & Regulation
Our coalition is working to repair our broken chemical policy system to protect against toxic chemical exposures.
Chances are you are exposed to at least a dozen products that contain fragrance on a daily basis. Unfortunately we are unknowingly being exposed to potentially hundreds of chemicals as a result, some of which are toxic to our health.
In May of 2015, the Minnesota Legislature quietly passed the nation’s most comprehensive flame retardant product ban to date. However, a current Senate proposal to reform regulation of chemicals at the federal level puts future state laws like this at risk.
We’d like to call your attention to a new Huffington Post article from our coalition partners at the Union of Concerned Scientists. This shows how the chemical industry — with the American Chemistry Council leading the way — is spending millions of dollars to push weak policies that allow our families to be exposed to dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde in our homes despite evidence of profound health effects.
The Value of Knowing and Caring about What’s Actually in Legislation
It looks as though the Senate is likely to vote on TSCA reform this week and the propaganda machine is in full swing. Yesterday, I took a call from New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, thinking he was writing about the legislation and what the issues were. I didn’t realize he was actually writing a column about us, instigated, as he admits, by his “old friend” at the Environmental Defense Fund’s affiliate. The column is flat wrong, but it also provides an opportunity to talk about where we are and what’s at stake.
With rumors swirling that the Senate could call a vote very soon on S.697, the Vitter-Udall chemical bill, four governors are raising fresh concerns about the bill, even as they encourage Congress to pass reform.
TSCA has been untouched and unchanged – until now. While an updated TSCA could yield incredibly beneficial health and safety advantages, the proposed legislation as written is actually an irreversible rollback – not reform.
A striking difference between the Senate and House bills is their length. But does a “comprehensive” bill necessarily mean a better chemical safety program?
H.R. 2576, which passed the House on June 23, retains section 5 in its current form. S. 697, reported out of committee on April 28, would rewrite section 5. Once the Senate acts on TSCA reform, the process of reconciling the two bills will begin. How critical are the Senate’s new chemical provisions in enhancing TSCA’s public health protections? And how much weight they should receive in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the two bills?
The Senate bill would preempt states earlier, creating a regulatory “void,” in which neither federal or state governments can restrict chemicals.
What’s in it? What’s next?
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act by a whopping 398 to 1 vote.