Chemical Policy (TSCA)
There is widespread agreement that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the principle federal statute governing the use and safety of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives, is broken and needs to be reformed.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given responsibility but little authority to enforce TSCA. Enacted in 1976, this current law was broken from the start, grandfathering thousands of chemicals already on the market. This law is so broken and so weak that the EPA could not even ban asbestos, a cancer-causing substance that is still in use and killing thousands of Americans each year.
To date, the EPA has only reviewed a few hundred chemicals for safety. There are nearly 85,000 chemicals currently approved for use that the federal government and consumers know little to nothing about.
We need real toxic chemical reform that ensures protection of public health, especially to our vulnerable populations, and the environment from the hazards these chemicals pose.
A hearing at the House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee yesterday surfaced deep doubts about a chemical industry-backed bill introduced earlier this year in the Senate to update the nation’s chemicals safety law.Read More
The Chemical Safety Improvement Act proposed in the Senate “fails to protect public health and the environment and allows chemical companies to keep conducting business as usual, which is the reason all Americans, including babies in the womb, are polluted with hundreds of toxic chemicals,” said Jason Rano, Environmental Working Group’s Director of Government Affairs.Read More
In the United States, the framework for safeguarding people and the environment against the dangers of toxic chemicals comprises three mutually reinforcing legal systems: federal regulation, state and federal civil justice systems, and state regulation. Each part of the framework however, has been substantially weakened — the civil justice systems by years of tort "reform," and federal and state regulatory systems by outdated laws and an ongoing campaign by industry and its allies against protective regulation.Read More
EWG and the Keep A Breast Foundation today released a guide to educate consumers about some of the most problematic hormone-altering chemicals that people are routinely exposed to. EWG parntered with KAB to develop the Dirty Dozen list of endocrine disruptors to highlight the prevalence of these toxic chemicals, how they affect our health and simple ways to avoid them.Read More
The State of California’s proposed drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, could leave roughly 24 million residents, or more than 60 percent of the state’s population, unprotected from the known carcinogen, according to a review of the proposal by Environmental Working Group, Clean Water Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Public Environmental Oversight and Integrated Resource Management.Read More
At EWG, we know how much you care about the safety of personal care products. Over the next several weeks we will delve deeper into some of the crucial issues surrounding these products. EWG's investigative series, "Exposing the Cosmetics Cover-Up," will take on a wide range of topics that should be on the minds of everyone who uses a personal care product. As EWG has long known — and as leading medical specialists recently underscored -- many cosmetics and personal care products contain potentially toxic ingredients. Major cosmetics companies have not publicly committed themselves to removing harmful ingredients. We'll look at deceptive claims made by some popular anti-aging products. And we'll help you sort out cosmetics safety facts from myths.
I had two challenging pregnancies filled with uncertainty and stress. Thankfully, the end result was two healthy kids. One thing was certain, though – I could handle the truth. I wanted all the facts and I wanted to make my own decisions about what to eat, when to exercise, when to sleep. When it comes to our health and the health of our kids, most of the parents I know will choose the advice and opinions of doctors over the chemical industry’s false reassurance every day.Read More
There are safe, affordable alternatives to the dangerous chemicals like the ones used in the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded in April. But instead of making the switch, the chemical industry has chosen to spend its money lobbying Congress so that it can keep putting millions needlessly at risk. And up until now, that strategy was working.Read More
There are more than 12,000 chemical plants that put Americans at risk with large amounts of chemicals, and 89 of those endanger more than 1 million people. Unfortunately, those most at risk in the examples below live in low-income communities of color.Read More
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer. It is almost always caused by inhaling tiny asbestos fibers, which pass through the lungs and become embedded in the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds the internal organs.Read More
There’s a growing consensus – except in the chemical industry and among its lobbyists and allies in Congress – that when it comes to protecting people and the environment from dangerous chemicals, the latest proposal to “reform” the nation’s outdated toxics law is a step in exactly the wrong direction.Read More
At the behest of the chemical industry, the Obama administration today backed off its effort to regulate a handful of widely used and highly toxic substances found in many consumer goods.Read More
Earlier this year a disturbing study showed that the brominated fire retardant TBBPA, which is widely used in consumer products, triggers cancer in lab animals. Now a new study suggests that the chemical may do so by interfering with the hormone system and may stimulate estrogen activity in much the same way as the toxic flame retardant it replaced.Read More
Everybody – environmentalists and chemical industry executives alike – wants to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. “Outdated” doesn’t begin to describe a law that was cumbersome and weak on the day President Ford signed it – Oct. 11, 1976, to be exact – the day the Chinese government arrested the Gang of Four and the top-selling single was Disco Duck Part I.
These days, legislation rarely makes it through Congress without support from interest groups on both sides of the issue, forcing lawmakers to draft bills that are largely balanced. Now, however, the American people are being pushed by big polluters to accept “chemical safety” legislation advanced by one of Washington’s most ardent anti-environmental advocates, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), that has virtually zero support in the environmental and public health communities.Read More
Ken Cook tells the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that a chemical-industry backed bill would severely undermine public health and the environment.Read More
Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today that toxic chemicals “are polluting people’s bodies – our blood, our fatty tissue and even breast milk.”Read More
What you can’t see can be deadly: virtually invisible, yet absolutely lethal asbestos fibers lead to environmental and occupational diseases that claim the lives of 30 Americans every day.Read More
Testimony of Kenneth A. Cook
Environmental Working Group