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 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
A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that farmed salmon accumulates higher levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) a chemical flame retardant used in furniture and electrical equipment. Some types of flame retardants have been banned in Europe and California because of health concerns.Read More
Refineries, power plants and other large industrial facilities in California that violate clean air laws typically pay penalties lower than what an SUV driver may legally be fined for a smog violation, according to an investigation of enforcement records by Environmental Working Group (EWG).Read More
There's increasing concern about the risks of chemicals in personal care products. The Independent reports that the growing use of cosmetics and toiletries, which contain many known toxic or untested chemicals, may be harming children who will develop cancer and fertility problems as adults.Read More
The Republican Senate leadership's asbestos bailout bill appears dead for now, after negotiations stalled May 7. The bill would have denied thousands of Americans their day in court, reduced damage awards to victims of asbestos diseases, and run out of money well before the epidemic of asbestos deaths peak.Read More
A new study presented at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicologists and Chemists links the Teflon chemical C8 [also known as PFOA] to elevated cancer rates. Researchers found higher levels of prostate cancer in men and cervical and uterine cancer in women exposed to C8 than in the general population.Read More
EWG has investigated scores of harmful industrial chemicals, the companies that produce them and the government policies that permit Americans to be exposed to them in their food, water and the air. Our research has repeatedly borne out the need to shift the burden of proof and require manufacturers to substantiate chemicals' safety before use in consumer products.Read More
A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel today recommended limits on chemical industry testing of pesticides and toxic chemicals on human subjects.Read More
EWG testifies at a EPA public meeting on teflon contamination, and charges DuPont repeatedly downplayed questions of the Teflon chemical’s toxicity.Read More
A series of studies published beginning in the 1950s shows that DuPont has known for at least 50 years that Teflon fumes at relatively low temperatures can cause an acute illness known as polymer fume fever. In several studies DuPont recruited human volunteers and intentionally exposed them to Teflon fumes to the point of illness. The results of these studies suggest that people cooking on Teflon and other non-stick pans may be at risk.Read More
Congresswoman Lois Capps today introduced legislation to protect Americans from perchlorate, a chemical contaminate that has seeped into underground water supplies and has recently been detected in agricultural products such as lettuce. The Preventing Perchlorate Pollution Act would accelerate the establishment of an EPA standard for perchlorate, and require the enhanced access to community "right to know" information about perchlorate contamination.Read More
EWG asks EPA administrator Whitman to investigation apparent reporting violations by DuPont Chemical. EWG submits documentation that DuPont had determined that 2 of 7 babies born to Teflon-exposed female workers in the company's Parkersburg WV plant had facial birth defects. DuPont had not reported this information to EPA as required under Section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act.Read More