Quite frankly, the stories from Flint are hard to hear. It’s outrageous that families in Flint are charged some of the highest water bills in the nation for water that they can’t use. It’s unthinkable to most that the lead contamination crisis that began in Flint more than two years ago has not been “solved” by now. It’s unconscionable that Flint families are in the third year of being unable to turn on the faucet and get a drink of water.
Now that the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill is on the President’s desk, it is a good time to reflect on what it represents and what’s next.
As you may know, staff from both chambers of Congress have nearly completed work reconciling different versions of chemical safety reform legislation (TSCA reform) that passed last year. (H.R. 2576 and S. 697 respectively.) Reportedly, there is at least one major sticking point remaining: should states be blocked for up to 4 years from taking action against a toxic chemical while EPA studies the chemical?
EPA’s label is a useful tool for consumers and companies.
All of the attention to the Flint tragedy should result first and foremost in justice and concrete aid for Flint, but it should also serve as a wake-up call that America has unfinished business with lead.
Today, more than 125 organizations sent a letter to House and Senate committee leaders spelling out in detail how the “best of both” TSCA bills emerging from the House and Senate could be combined. The groups said they would support a final bill that reflected the recommendations in the letter.
Last night, the Senate passed its bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This is a milestone that we have worked toward for years, but it also comes with some big red flags.
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.
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.
Recently, Target quietly posted a rather important update to its sustainable products standard addressing toxic chemicals.