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Landmark Chemical Reform Introduced in Congress

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

WASHINGTON – Amid rising concern over toxic chemicals in consumer products and the bodies of Americans, three members of Congress today introduced legislation to make sure chemicals are safe before they are allowed on the market.

Under current law known as the Toxic Substances Control Act, unchanged since 1976, most new chemicals are approved with little or no safety testing, and more than 62,000 existing chemicals have remained on the market for three decades despite evidence that some pose serious health risks. The Kid Safe Chemicals Act, by Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Reps. Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) would place the burden of proof on the chemical industry to show that chemicals are safe for children before they are added to consumer products.

“When babies come into this world pre-polluted with hundreds of dangerous industrial chemicals already in their blood, it’s clear that the regulatory system is broken,” said Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group (EWG). “The Kid Safe Chemicals Act will change a lax, outdated system that presumes chemicals are safe into one that requires makers of toxic chemicals to prove their safety before they’re allowed on the market.”

“This bill is a long-overdue move to put public health ahead of chemical industry profits,” Cook added. “We thank Sen. Lautenberg, Chairman Boxer, Rep. Solis and Chairman Waxman for their leadership.”

A coalition of grassroots, state and national organizations led by EWG sent a letter to the lawmakers today applauding their action and pledging support as the work begins to make this legislation law. The letter and a list of organizations that signed on.

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