Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

Lautenberg Plan: Safety First

The effort to protect Americans from chemical dangers took a historic step forward today as Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Environmental Health, introduced legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.  The current law is riddled with so many loopholes that in more than 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been able to regulate only five of the 83,000 chemicals in use in consumer goods.

In the House, meanwhile, a key committee rolled out its “discussion draft” of a parallel proposal. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman and Commerce, and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chairman of the Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, will begin hammering out a final version that could go to a floor vote later this year.

Sen. Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act will bring order to a chemical industry whose products have largely escaped regulation for the past three decades. With virtually no rules governing the safety of chemicals, American babies are born pre-polluted, their bodies laced with as many as 300 industrial compounds, pollutants, plastics, pesticides and other substances that threaten public health.

Lautenberg puts this problem in the crosshairs by making protection of children and other vulnerable populations the cornerstone of American environmental health policy . The measure would set standards of public health protection far higher that the new European toxic chemicals regime.  It would be light years ahead of any statute that has been proposed or enacted at the state level.

The bill would also begin to peel away the shroud of secrecy that allows only industry and select EPA employees to see “confidential” data on chemicals. As a result, two-thirds of all synthetics brought to market in the past 30 years have been secret chemicals, their identities concealed from the public and independent scientists. Even first responders and state health authorities have no access to these chemical identities and safety data about them.

In another major reform, Lautenberg’s bill would shift the burden of ensuring that chemicals are safe, requiring chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their products to stay on the market. As things stand now, the public must accept industry’s claims that a chemical is benign. If the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) questions a substance’s safety, the agency – meaning the public – bears the burden of proving that there are risks. The bill would also give the EPA the authority to make it stick; if a company declines to produce even a single study the agency wants, the EPA administrator could stop production and use of the chemical.

The Safe Chemicals Act would also require EPA to produce a priority list of 300 existing chemicals for regulatory review and would establish an interagency panel to decide which chemicals go on that list. Putting the wrong chemicals on the list will undermine public protections for many years. As the bill moves forward, EWG will keep a close eye on how priorities are set and what tests are required to prove safety.

Lautenberg, Waxman and other members of Congress sponsored a toxic chemicals policy reform proposal known as the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act in 2005 and again in 2008, but these measures did not have the broad support that has coalesced behind the current initiative.

Today, the search for environmental causes of disease is a front-burner issue for scientists, medical professionals, policy-makers and health advocates. President Obama, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, key members of both houses of Congress, the environmental and health communities, countless citizens and the chemical industry itself agree that a new national policy must be crafted to fit the complex realities of the 21st century.

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5 Responses to “Lautenberg Plan: Safety First”

  1. The laws will be strengthened but we still need everyone to tell their friends about all the toxins in our household products.
    Thank you EWG for your great work.
    Your Loyal Supporter

  2. Kim says:

    We should have been on top of this long ago.Better late than never; but still lots of work to be done. The new federal lead law(s) (22 April 2010)is progress and much needed to protect the health of this nation.

  3. Tara says:

    Thank you EWG. I check in and follow your efforts on a regular basis. Please keep up the good work. Without you, we would all be in trouble. The chemical industry has run amok, and has gotten away with it for over 30 years due, in part, to the lack of government oversight and no remedial authority whatsoever. The day of reckoning has arrived and it is time to hold them all accountable. How dare they risk the health and safety of our children and loved ones. I applaud you EWG for all you do!!!

  4. Jan says:

    Yes, its about time!
    I want you to read the following sites, which will shock you that our government EPA and FDA offices have allowed this Insanity to be implemented for 65yrs or more.
    The people of this country need to “Get Informed and then you will see the government and corporate mismanagement and almost intentional disregard for our bodies health. The doctors and the dentists have not helped the cause either.
    They have welcomed the continual use of Toxic Drugs for the Treatment of Disease and Tooth Decay, because they create more disease and more profit for their lives, and less for ours!
    I can’t begin to tell you what I have learned in the past year,researching and talking with people all over this world. I am not happy with the disease process I have acquired, e.g. hypothyroidism, obesity, osteoporosis, Gerd, , lack of absoption, malnurishment, from being mandated to drink and shower in Fluoridated water,!
    I am not happy with not being able to find a stick of gum or a mint or food or drink that does not conatain Asparatame or the new Neotame , now in 6,000 food products in our food chain……all Neurotoixins, all causing infertility, disease, cancers, ADHD, Osteoporosis, Dental and Skeletal Fluorosis……..wait til you read any of these sites and you will see the science is there, but government listens to the wrong scientists that only want to propergate their own tenures. Who just have no common sense, no compassion for life, not enough brains to look outside the box…..having been bought and paid for by Big Corp and Big Pharma, Monsanto and the FDA/CDC/WHO……100’s of scientists have been myssteriously killed for finding Truth and trying to bring their thoughts, their discoveries to fruition…, key that one in……
    *”100 scientist’s Mysteriously died”.
    *Hitler and Fluoride
    *The Fluoride Action Network
    *NeuroResearch Clinics, Inc.
    *Nurotoxin Comprehensive List
    1)Fluoride-Fluorosilicic Acid-Albuterol-Coumadin-
    Aspartic Acid- Aspartame…….Pesticides in GMO seeds
    On this page is the most comprehensive list found date, 1,178 neurotoxins. This list is from information published by several US government agencies such as OSHA and Center for Disease Control. For a list of neurotransmitter diseases.
    A neurotoxin is substances which cause damage to the structures of the brain leading to chronic disease.
    In 1998 NeuroResearch Clinics began to connect the dots on other chronic neurotransmitter diseases. When a neurotoxin does enough damage to the neuron bundles of the brain chronic depression, chronic anxiety, attention deficit (ADD and ADHD), chronic panic attacks, chronic insomnia, chronic fibromyalgia, chronic dementia (deterioration of brain function), and a host of other diseases develop.
    The cause of Parkinson’s disease and all the other diseases.
    Our country must press our President Obama, who cares but is just not being given the right information.
    We must impress upon the minds of those in charge, during this awakening of our government leaders, to remove fluoride from our water, and Aspartame from the 6,000 food products, and tell the doctors they Should not prescribe or give any flurothane anesthesia, no more fluroxetine Prozac, no more Cipro/Levequin quinolones, no more Fosamax made from bi-phosphates/Fertilizer.
    We want have a right to drink Clean and SAFE Tap Water.
    We have a right to eat foods and drinks not loaded with
    any neurotoxin artifical sweetner.
    We have a right to eat meats and produce not produce from Genetically Modified poisons and toxins.
    These3 things and more, are depoplulating the world via Infertility, and causing our utility bills and food bills and medical care to go UP! If they didn’t create the disease by giving us neurotoxins we wouldn’t need costly health insurance premiums! Where is OUR CHOICE in these matters?
    They are causing brain damage hence disease.
    I have 5 different health problems all related to having drank fluorosilicic acid, a by product of Fertilizer in my drinking water for the past 60yrs! This is not funny! This is travsity, that our ADA and AMA have endorsed the poisoning of America and Monsanto and Bill Gates endorse the death sentence to the world with their GMO seeds! Feeding the hungry with toxic food products, making billions , donating billions by Gates to produce death and infertility in the innocent poor and hungry!
    Don’t pay your water bills until they take the “F” ion out of the tap water.! Of course they have already shut off 45,000 people in Detroit’s water for doing that in 2003!
    Don’t buy any Diet soda’s or gum or mayo, with Aspartame and MSG in it….it accumulates over the years and it will bite yah in the butt! It is and converts to methanol and formaldehyde when consumed. Morticians say they hardly have to embalm people anymore, because they are being pickled alive with Diet Soda’s!
    Deadly Deception
    Get the facts about Aspartame also known as [NutraSweet/Equal] in Stoddard’s hard-hitting 250 page report. Deadly Deception – Story of Aspartame is an …
    Now the FDA is renaming Aspartame to NeoTame, 13,000 times now sweeter than sugar! And they think they don’t have to label it now! Their crazy too! They better label it or better yet stop these criminal acts against the people of the USA!
    The people are unaware how it is re-setting their tastes buds to never be able to match that sweetness again.
    Ever see young 300 lb overweights buying a 20oz diet pop with 4 King Size candy bars? I believe its the Aspartame that is actually causing the Obesity in this country.
    Our bodies , liver, pancreas and brains must have glucose to live…the neuortoxin is I believe causing more diabetes , ADHD, apathy, low IQ and obesity in our world… has to be contributing to it chemically…..its a neurotoxin, it can’t be good for us… why do it ? Greed, and because they can …they think! that is all it is…cuz it’s total craziness!
    Also, a neurotoxin will cause a “chemical frontal lobotomy”, watch a person interact who takes Prozac or Zoloft!
    EPA calls “natural fluroide” then says its from “Farmers soil runoff from fertilzer! ” Yah right , we are low in Fertilzer boy, we need to prevent tooth decay without brushing ….yah give us a couple of tablespoons of Fertilizer , then do your studies on Dental Flurosis and say all they will need is Cosmetic Dentistry to the tune of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Places out west have as much as 4ppm, Idaho has 15.9ppm, for more go to:,
    they have each states fluoride levels……
    I am so happy to see a Start being made toward cleaning up our food , air, water and Pharmacueticals…….
    Now we will see if they really tackle it and stop it or just pat them CEO’s on the hand and do nothing!

  5. Meg says:

    Do you have more information on neurotoxins with relation to depression,fatigue, anxiety, etc. I am 42 and these things are becoming debilitating for me. Are you saying that ingredients in drugs like Zoloft are actually making the problem worse? Thanks for any info you can pass on.