House TSCA Bill Won’t Ensure Safety of Everyday Chemicals

WASHINGTON – The legislative proposal issued today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee falls short of what’s necessary to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe, EWG said.

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

Congress has neglected the problem of dangerous chemicals in consumer products for decades, to the great benefit of chemical industry profits. American families should not have to wait more decades for a regulatory system that aggressively protects their health from toxic chemicals. We need expeditious, rigorous safety evaluations of at least 1000 toxic chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency says deserve priority attention. And we need assurance that the most dangerous chemicals will be regulated or banned. While we commend the committee for its focus on the need to overhaul chemical policy, the legislation it is sending to the House floor will not do the job. It still tips much too far in favor of an industry in serious need of regulation.

While the revised legislation properly preserves a role for the states, which have stepped in to fill a void left by federal inaction, H.R. 276 still falls short in several respects:

  • The bill has an untested and ambiguous safety standard.
  • It fails to require tough deadlines for final agency action.
  • It does not provide the resources EPA needs to quickly review the most dangerous chemicals.
  • The bill would allow chemical companies to pay for quick reviews and approval of their favorite chemicals. But promised reviews of the truly dangerous chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in Americans bodies could languish for lack of funding Congressional appropriators.
  • The bill fails to subject EPA’s chemical safety decisions to the same standard of judicial review as other EPA actions. 

Americans have waited far too long for chemicals safety reform that will ensure that chemicals are safe. Now is the time to get this piece of legislation right. We look forward to working with House legislators to give the EPA the tools it needs to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe.

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