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 lot of people assume a company can’t sell a chemical until it is has been proved safe.
They’re wrong. Under current law, the Environmental Protection Agency is charged with determining that a chemical is not likely to present an unreasonable risk before it goes on the market. Yet an analysis of the EPA’s approval process has found that the agency has been making that critical decision even though it has not received health and safety data for 85 percent of the new chemicals concocted by the chemical industry. The federal government’s regulatory framework places the burden on EPA to show that chemicals are unsafe instead of forcing chemical companies to show that their creations are safe.Read More
It came like a bolt out of the blue last week (May 21) when two influential senators announced they had come up with a bipartisan “compromise” proposal to update the outdated federal law that’s supposed to govern the use and safety of toxic chemicals. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and David Vitter (R-La.), lead sponsors of the new bill titled the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act,” called it the long-sought solution to fixing the notorious weaknesses of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, the only major U.S. environmental law that has never been brought up to date. Their proposal has garnered widespread praise from the chemical industry and lukewarm support from some members of the environmental community.Read More
The Chemical Safety Improvement Act introduced by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., is an “unacceptably weak response to the chemical exposure problems American families face every day,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said today.Read More
We need safe cosmetics reform now!
Mercury in mascara? Lead in lipstick? Scientific studies have shown that many common personal care products contain dangerous chemicals. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database evaluates nearly 80,000 personal care products and close to 10,000 ingredients in these consumer products.Read More
Earlier this year, when Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) announced his plans to retire, he listed several issues he wants to see through to a successful conclusion before the end of his term. One of them is passage of the Safe Chemicals Act.
The senator has been a champion for consumer safety throughout his Senate career, and this vital bill to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure that chemicals in consumer products are safe is a prime example.Read More
Legislation introduced today by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would overhaul the way synthetic chemicals are regulated. Lautenberg’s proposal would for the first time place the burden of proof on chemical companies to ensure the substances they create in the lab are safe for human health and the environment before they are allowed on the market.Read More
March is Women’s History Month, when the nation honors the many women who have had a lasting impact on American culture, history and women’s rights.Read More
In his State of the Union address, President Obama perpetuated a misleading idea -- that natural gas can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.Read More
Two years ago, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced the Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act, more commonly known as Trevor's Law. Although the full committee endorsed the bill last year, it never came to a vote in the full Senate.Read More
Environmental Working Group called today’s release of draft risk assessments of five chemicals found in paint strippers, fire retardants, degreasers, fragrances and other consumer products a positive step by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but EWG emphasized that the agency’s action “also underscores the need for true chemical policy reform.”Read More
In the wake of the 2012 election, Environmental Working Group has issued the following statements on three key issues central to EWG’s mission: Federal farm policy, natural gas extraction that protects people, water and land and fixing the nation’s failed federal chemicals law.Read More
There is now solid evidence that Americans have gotten the message that the plastics chemical bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the hormone system, is hazardous to their health.Read More
EWG commends EPA for taking action to protect Americans from perchlorate, an endocrine-disrupting compound and contaminant in tap water.Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently (Sept. 7) warned Lancôme to stop making grand claims for several of its anti-aging products -- claims that would require the agency to approve them before the products could be sold to consumers.Read More
Some household cleaning products can expose unsuspecting users to toxic substances linked to short- and long-term health problems, including asthma, allergic reactions and even cancer.Read More
It's fair to say that I'm not a beach person. My hair is pale blonde and my skin is the color of a marshmallow, if it had freckles. I have nightmarish memories of being covered head to toe in sunscreen and still getting burned. So now when I visit the shore, I faithfully apply one of the sunscreens highly rated by EWG's Sunscreen Guide, sit under an umbrella and still worry about getting burned.Read More
We walked up to the White House Appointments Desk at 17th Street and State Place NW, headed for the West Wing. The security officer examined Jerry Ensminger's military identification card and then said "Semper Fi!" With no sense of irony, Jerry responded "Semper Fi," the "always faithful" Marine mantra he had repeated so many times before.Read More
This week marked a huge victory for consumers. Johnson & Johnson, global manufacturer of such well known health and personal care products as Johnson's Baby Shampoo, unveiled plans to reformulate many of its adult cosmetic and toiletry products to remove potentially toxic or cancer-causing ingredients.Read More
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest personal care product companies, has announced a groundbreaking new initiative to reformulate many of its personal care products, including baby shampoos and lotions, to remove chemicals of concern to consumers.Read More