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 nearly 85,000 chemicals currently approved for use 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.
When I heard earlier this week that a train carrying crude oil had derailed and exploded in flames near the West Virginia town of Mount Carbon, I had a sickening feeling of déjà vu.
In between blizzards, you may be thinking of installing insulation to save money and energy.
The Elk River chemical disaster, which unfolded a year and four days ago, is one of those crises too terrible to waste. Here are five surprising lessons we need to learn from the spill, which contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians.Read More
California scored a big win for human health and the environment today (Sept. 30) when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to require labeling on upholstered furniture to tell shoppers whether it contains toxic flame retardant chemicals.Read More
The chemical “safety” bill that the industry’s allies introduced in Congress is far worse than the current outdated and inadequate law. Here are 10 reasons why legislation hailed as “real progress” by some presents real problems for consumers worried about dangerous chemicals in consumer products.Read More
EWG applauds Senator Boxer’s leadership in fighting for reform of our broken toxics laws and protecting public health.Read More
If oil and gas companies were injecting potentially toxic fluids into the ground near your home or your children’s schoolyard, wouldn’t you want to know about it?Read More
The American Chemistry Council, a trade association of major chemical makers, is among the largest donors to a fund created to support Sen. David Vitter’s campaign for governor of Louisiana.Read More
As Congress rushes to complete a new law that would seek to “reform” the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act, political spending by chemical companies and their trade association has reached record levels, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group.Read More
Last month, the EPA official responsible for reviewing the safety of chemicals used in thousands of every-day products was asked how many chemicals in use are so dangerous they should get a harder look by the agency to protect public health and the environment.
A revised draft of legislation to update the failed federal law that regulates toxic chemicals, which was released by Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois following stiff criticism of his initial proposal, makes only cosmetic changes to his first draft.Read More
The Chemicals in Commerce Act discussion draft circulated in the House of Representatives earlier this year claims to advance the public interest. We don’t think so.
SAN FRANCISCO – The California Department of Public Health today announced its final drinking water standard for the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium made infamous in the film Erin Brockovich. The state’s new Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 parts per billion is 500 times greater than the level identified as safe by the California Environmental Protection Agency.Read More
Washington, D.C. – The decision by Avon, one of the world’s largest beauty product manufacturers, to remove the antibacterial chemical triclosan from its products is “the latest example of how consumer pressure can improve product safety and change the marketplace,” Environmental Working Group said in a statement today.Read More
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) recently authored the Chemicals in Commerce Act, a discussion draft of legislation purporting to reform our nation’s weak and outdated chemicals management law, the Toxic Substances Control Act.Read More
Should chemicals we encounter every day be safe?
You’d think the answer would be an obvious and resounding “yes.” But if you ask chemical companies – or some lawmakers – they say that “safe” is relative. In their view, chemical companies should be able to use dangerous chemicals if restricting their use to protect people would be too costly.Read More
When 300,000 West Virginians went without water for three weeks earlier this year, most Americans were shocked to learn that health officials and the government didn’t know much about the licorice-smelling chemical that had leaked from a storage facility into the Elk River near Charleston. Hundreds of residents contacted the state’s Poison Control Center to report nausea, vomiting and rashes. Weeks after officials lifted the water ban, complaints of the licorice odor continue and the long-term health effects of the coal-processing substance – 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (Crude MCHM) – are still unknown.
The state of California has launched an important initiative to protect its residents from exposures to toxic substances by calling on industry to find safer alternatives for three widely used chemicals, Environmental Working Group said today in a statement.Read More