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Senate’s Toxic Chemicals Bill “Will Not Protect America’s Families”

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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, December 18, 2015

Ken Cook, EWG’s president and cofounder, said:

If Frank Lautenberg, Jim Jeffords, Barbara Boxer and Henry Waxman had summoned support for this version of toxic chemical reform 10 years ago, only the chemical industry would have rallied to their call. 

No wonder the parties most excited about the toxic chemicals “reform” bill the Senate passed yesterday are the very companies it purports to regulate and their closest allies in Congress, most notably Sen. David Vitter (R-La). In a sense, the chemical industry should be celebrating – this legislation originated with its lobbyists.

It is worth noting that no environmental or public health organization with expertise in the field of toxic chemical regulation actually supports this legislation – with one exception. 

No one should feel assured that the Senate legislation will rein in chemical industry abuses that literally contaminate American babies with hundreds of toxic chemicals – carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and so on – before they’ve even left their mothers’ womb. Without very substantial improvements, this bill simply will not protect America’s families or communities against the chemical onslaught, and EWG opposes any measure that will not accomplish that goal. Our supporters expect nothing less.

Ironically, the Senate bill also will not protect the chemical industry. As feeble and industry-friendly as it is, this legislation will only deepen the public’s suspicion of chemical companies and further encourage manufacturers and retailers of consumer products to take action on their own. The chemical industry’s most toxic offerings will continue to be rejected in the marketplace despite government assurances of safety, which increasingly seem like blandishments in aid of commerce. Have the government’s regulatory decisions ever been more out of step with consumer expectations for the safer chemicals and products that independent scientists say are needed, and that health-minded companies are poised to provide?

Over the coming weeks, EWG will work nonstop to inform the public of the critical flaws in the Senate bill and its House counterpart and to build support for real reform.