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.
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.
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?
States have been where most of the action to protect people from toxic chemicals has happened in recent years. So the the Udall-Vitter bill is rightly drawing fire for limiting the ability of states to act in several ways.
Opponents of the Senate’s Vitter-Udall chemical legislation introduced this week point to numerous flaws in the bill. Perhaps the most contentiously debated part is something called “preemption”…
The chemical industry should not get to dictate the terms by which it is regulated.
The jockeying among presidential hopefuls in recent weeks has generated a new round of criticism of what’s called the “Wealth Primary” – the informal, but often decisive vetting of candidates by mega-donors.