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 more than 80,000 chemicals currently being used in consumer products 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.
The University of Montana has put out its annual Kids Count report for 2005, addressing child mortality, uninsurance rates, economic status and, for the first time, health care costs from environmental pollutants. Montana spends an estimated $400 million annually for kids with lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, birth defects and other disorders.Read More
Residents near DuPont's W.Va. Washington Works plant, where the Teflon chemical PFOA is produced, are speaking out against a landfill where the company dumped the toxic chemical.Read More
An FDA panel is examining possible health concerns associated with antibacterial soaps, wipes and other household products. The market is booming for these germ-killers, but home use might be creating strains resistant to both antibacterials and antibiotics. This is of particular concern to families with children, as it presents the double-edged sword of exposing children to surviving super-germs, or, on the other hand, overprotecting them in a squeaky-clean environment that prevents them from building immunity, which can lead to asthma or allergies later in life.Read More
Using a line straight from the chemical industry's playbook, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have established the nation's first state biomonitoring program last weekend.Read More
Ag-Mart Produce, the giant Florida tomato grower, is eliminating the use of some pesticides linked to birth defects following a lawsuit involving three seriously deformed babies born to field workers.Read More
The Washington State Toxics Coalition and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition have started body burden testing on 10 people in the Puget Sound area, looking for pesticides, heavy metals, PCBs, fire retardants, phthalates and other toxics in their subjects' bodies.Read More
Wal-Mart's 153 California stores are in danger of an audit from the state Department of Pesticide Regulation for selling home and lawn pesticides not approved for use in the state.Read More
More and more groups are examining the Senate asbestos bill called FAIR and finding it doesn’t keep its promises – to anyone. Environmental Working Group’s research has shown that the Senate’s answer to the asbestos epidemic is inadequate for the millions who will suffer from exposure to this toxic mineral.Read More
Toxic PCBs have been found at 140 times the level that requires cleanup at a South Seattle site that EPA declared clean more than five years ago. Fish in the nearby Duwamish River are the most PCB-laden in the state, and high levels have been found in salmon and killer whales in the Puget Sound.Read More
A report the GAO released last week faults EPA for not enforcing laws that prevent companies from ducking environmental cleanup costs by filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.Read More
Six West Viriginia and Ohio lawyers received the 2005 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice Foundation July 26 for their work on behalf of residents drinking Teflon-contaminated water from DuPont's nearby Washington Works plant. DuPont was sued for dumping the persistent Teflon chemical into community water supplies, although the company has known of its toxicity and potential to cause human health effects for decades.Read More
In the past week, activists have pressed Teflon maker DuPont to clean up its act on two fronts. Environmental groups demanded that the company monitor groundwater around its local plant, the only one in the US that makes this indestructible, cancer-causing chemical, and the steeworkers' union urged carpet and clothing retailers and fast food companies to warn consumers that their products may be coated with chemicals that break down into DuPont's toxic Teflon chemical.Read More
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California Assembly's Health Committee advanced a bill that would require manufacturers of personal care products to inform the state's Department of Health Services whenever they are making products with chemicals linked to cancer or birth defects.Read More
Supported by local health and environmental activists, the Air Pollution Control Board in Louisville, Ky., made admirable history last week with the Strategic Toxic Air Reduction (STAR) program. Three years ago, according to the Courier-Journal, the EPA rated the city’s air the worst in the entire Southeast, but as of July 1, Louisville will have some of the nation’s strongest, healthiest air quality standards. The plan will reduce 37 specific chemicals emitted by industrial activity; programs to reduce emissions from cars and other sources will be implemented soon.Read More
Businesses that object to tough pollution standards often hold communities or states hostage by threatening to take their jobs and move. Now the shoe is on the other foot in West Virginia, where a frozen-foods company refused to bring its plant to the town of Parkersburg, where the water is contaminated with the Teflon chemical C8.Read More
In the latest study of toxic chemicals in people, the BBC reports that seven British TV personalities were tested for 104 industrial compounds in their blood. All were contaminated with toxins, and one had 30 different chemicals in her sysem. Scientists tested for commonly found chemicals including banned pesticides like DDT, flame retardants and the PFOA chemical found in Teflon and other nonstick pans and stain repellents.Read More