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.
Tests on household dust in seven states show that we’re breathing in a hodgepodge of chemicals from consumer products, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. On the shortlist of 35 toxic industrial chemicals found are phthalates, plasticizers that soften products with vinyl, including shoes, face and body lotions, upholstery, shower curtains, nail polish and garden hoses; PFOA, the Teflon chemical, in everything from pots and pans to Scotchguard and StainMaster carpeting, waterproof jackets, and stain-resistant clothing; flame retardants, found in mattresses, carpet and curtains; and pesticides.Read More
Not content to pander to the cosmetics industry by requiring no safety testing on American personal care products, the Bush administration is now working to thwart Europe’s attempts at improving product safety. Government correspondence uncovered by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the administration mixed with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for a lobbying campaign to cripple Europe’s new laws, the Oakland Tribune reports.Read More
The Oakland Tribune devoted three days and thousands of words to telling the story of one local family's exposure to toxic chemicals. The paper's superb series presents a new and updated take on the pollution in people pioneered by the Environmental Working Group's ground breaking 2003 report, Body Burden, which tested the blood of nine Americans for more than 200 contaminants. EWG staff advised reporter Douglas Fischer on what to test for, where to test it, and what the results mean.Read More
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) took the EPA to task this week for using fuzzy math and ignoring health effects to bolster President Bush’s cap-and-trade proposal for mercury emissions from power plants, The Washington Post reports. The EPA skewed its analysis to indicate that the administration’s proposal would garner greater savings than enforcing pollution caps on all plants, the technology-based plan favored by conservationists.Read More
New tests by Toronto's Globe and Mail and CTV News show some of the world's highest levels of chemical fire retardants in common Canadian foods.Read More
Texas legislature is poised to consider legislation limiting the ability of the sick or dying to get their medical bills covered by the asbestos companies.Read More
The Washington Post reports that half the fish consumed worldwide will be farm-raised instead of wild-caught by the year 2025, exposing Americans to more fish with plenty of healthy omega-3s and dangerous levels of toxic PCBs.Read More
Newly uncovered documents from W.R. Grace show that the company exposed workers in at least 14 of its insulation factories around the country to lethal asbestos dust at levels above those in the now notorious Grace-owned mine in Libby, Mont.Read More
In her new book "It's My Party Too,” former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman's accuses the chemical industry's lobbying arm, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), of foiling her efforts to protect chemical plants from attack after September 11.Read More
The international mining giant, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp., is under fire for dangerously polluting Indonesian communities in violation of US environmental standards. Now, an Environmental Working Group (EWG) search of US government electronic records it has posted on its web site (www.ewg.org/mining/) shows the company holds more acres of mining claims on Western public land than any other metal mining company. Newmont holds 347,458 acres of claims in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington.Read More
An investigation by the Riverside Press Enterprise documents how industries that make and use the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate have worked to undermine sound science on its health effects -- even rewriting an article in a federally funded journal. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein says widespread contamination of water and food makes a national rocket fuel safety standard an urgent need.Read More
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) investigation into a controversial pesticide study found that the chemical industry's lobbying arm, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), boasted to its members that a $2 million contribution it made to the study had gained the industry "considerable leverage" over the project.Read More
The Washington Post reports that a toxic chemical component of rocket fuel, in concentrations 80 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human consumption, has been found near a reservoir that supplies drinking water to the District of Columbia.Read More
According to news reports, Teflon maker DuPont reported earning $331 million in the third quarter this year. That amount will just cover the possible $313 million fine it faces for illegally hiding from the EPA studies finding that their Teflon chemical moves from mother's blood to baby and that it had polluted drinking water supplies used by thousands of Ohioans and West Virginians.Read More
According to the Los Angeles Times, when confronted with criticism about the number of pollution lawsuits that EPA has filed during his tenure, EPA's Acting Enforcement Chief Tom Skinner asserted that EPA is actively pursuing settlements with polluters rather than lawsuits to punish violations of environmental laws.Read More
Yesterday House and Senate committee members agreed on a bill that would have the tobacco industry, rather than taxpayers, spend $9.6 billion to buy out tobacco quotas. While the bill rightly ends an outdated, lopsided subsidy system, Congress let slip a key provision that would have given the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate the manufacture and sale of cigarettes.Read More
Which of those common expressions matches your outlook on consumer products and chemicals: look before you leap, or shoot first and ask questions later?Read More
A new study finds chemical flame retardants known as PBDEs contaminate common foods available on supermarket shelves. The study appears in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology and provides possible evidence that food may be a primary source of the flame retardant contamination found in humans.Read More