WASHINGTON – Americans expect the chemicals used in everyday products to be safe. But a chemical industry-supported bill introduced today by Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and David Vitter, R-La., falls far short of what’s needed to protect us from toxic and poorly regulated chemicals.
This bill fails to ensure that chemicals are safe, to set meaningful deadlines and to provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with adequate resources to do the job. It would rob the states of the ability to protect public health.
In particular, the industry bill fails to offer a strong safety standard that would require chemical manufacturers to prove their chemicals are safe before they hit the market. Instead, the bill would allow companies to show only that their substances pose “no unreasonable risk of harm.”
“This chemical industry proposal is worse than the current law,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and cofounder. “It fails to meet even basic criteria for effective reform that protects our children’s health. There is a mounting body of evidence that links chemical exposures to adverse health effects. And this is the best we can do?”
In the absence of a strong federal chemical safety law, states have taken steps to protect the public from dangerous chemicals. But the industry bill would block states from taking new actions to regulate any “high priority” chemical for which the EPA has initiated a safety review.
Under the industry bill, the EPA would have seven years to conduct its reviews for “high priority” chemicals and would not face deadlines for new chemical restrictions.
“It is clear the chemical industry’s bill is designed to protect polluters, chemical companies and profits – not children,” said Cook. “I can’t say this comes as a surprise.”
“Americans deserve real reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act that protects public health and the environment for future generations from unnecessary exposures to toxic chemicals,” Cook added.
Congress needs to protect families and children from unnecessary exposures to toxic chemicals. The proposal released today would not fix major public health and safety concerns, instead it would make things worse than under current law.
EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Learn more at www.ewg.org.