Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

A Landmark Conversation: The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy

Under the outdated and toothless federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), chemicals can go on the U.S. market with little or no safety testing, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only limited power to protect public health. One result, studies have shown, is that babies are born with hundreds of industrial chemicals in their bodies, Many of them are suspected of contributing to a growing list of health problems such as childhood cancer, obesity, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, infertility and birth defects.

UPDATED: October 6th, 2009

The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy, Part 1
Opening remarks
Panel: Chemicals Policy for the 21st Century
Featured Speaker: EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
Panel: Providing Adequate Information on Hazard, Exposure, and Use

The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy, Part 2
Panel: Prioritizing EPA Review of Chemicals

The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy, Part 3
Panel: Modernizing the TSCA Safety Standard
Panel: Policy Outlook
Closing remarks

Click here to read the Conference Speaker Bios.

Click here to download the agenda.

Just this week, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson acknowledged something that EWG has been saying for a long time — the law isn’t strong enough to ensure Americans’ health:

The American people are looking to the government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science and unacceptable risks haven’t been ignored. Unfortunately, the current law doesn’t give it that power.

Now for the good news.

EWG has been pushing for years to reform TSCA, and the chemical industry, the EPA and the Obama Administration all now agree that the law needs to be reformed. To make the most of this unprecedented opportunity to move the reform process forward, EWG is co-hosting an historic stakeholder conference in Washington on October 6th to discuss exactly what how that should be done.

As Jane Houlihan, EWG’s Senior Vice-President for Research, said in response to EPA’s recent support for chemicals policy reform:

The system we have now assumes that chemicals are innocent until proven guilty. The reforms introduced today would flip that.

About the conference: Exploring fundamental changes to U.S. chemicals policy

At the day-long event, organizations representing chemical manufacturers, environmental and public health advocates, environmental justice leaders and consumer product companies will come together to explore fundamental changes to U.S. chemical policy.

The conference will begin a long-overdue conversation with key stakeholders about how best to update the chemical review and management system. Through four panel discussions, participants will delve into the wonkish details of current federal law and regulation (including TSCA), risk assessment methods, priorities, costs, the role of industry, the politics of reform, and then some.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will kick start the day by describing the Obama administration’s newly-released principles for modernizing the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), setting the tone for a spirited exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Join the conference online, Tuesday, Oct. 6

Conference made possible with financial support from Rachel’s Network and Environmental Working Group and co-sponsored by: Environmental Working Group, Rachel’s Network, The Pew Health Group, Community Against Pollution, The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, American Chemistry Council, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Turner Foundation, Soap and Detergent Association, and the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

Whether you watch, read our live blogs, or comment, we think it’s important to share this historic conversation with the stakeholders who can’t be there in person — you. After all, it’s not everyday that environmental health advocates, the industry, and the EPA sit down at the same table to better protect public health.

Click here for the morning session liveblog.

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2 Responses to “A Landmark Conversation: The Future of U.S. Chemicals Policy”

  1. Faith Wurtzel says:

    Please force IFF, Proctor & Gamble, and the rest of the chemical industry to finally reveal each and every hazardous waste ingredient hidden behind the word ‘fragrance’.

    Then let us decide for ourselves what we consider to be a ‘safe’ dose for toxic waste (such as aldehydes, benzene, toluene or acetone) when we purchase these products – or boycott them!