Senate Sends Obama Toxic Chemicals Bill That Falls Short of Needed Reforms

WASHINGTON -- With tonight’s voice vote in the Senate, chemicals policy reform legislation that fails to adequately protect human health and the environment is headed to the President, noted Environmental Working Group.

Following the voice vote, Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook and its senior vice president for government affairs, Scott Faber, issued the following statements:

EWG president Ken Cook:

No one in the public health community asked for a toxics bill that is “better than current law,” because that law is so feeble it failed under industry challenge to ban a substance as deadly as asbestos. What we need is a law that aggressively protects people, especially children, on an urgent basis from the thousands of toxic chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders and other problems. This law simply will not accomplish that commonsense goal.

EWG senior vice president for government affairs Scott Faber:

While the legislation Congress now sends to the president makes improvements to the worst environmental law on the books, it does not meet the reasonable expectations of American consumers. In particular, the bill may not provide EPA with the resources or clear legal authority the agency needs to quickly review and, if needed, ban dangerous chemicals linked to cancer and other serious health problems.

Thanks to the steadfast leadership of key senators, including Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Sheldon Whitehouse and Cory Booker, the final bill does include important improvements. In particular, we thank them for their efforts to fight for tougher deadlines, new tools to collect chemical data, mandatory reviews of both new and old chemicals, new protections for vulnerable groups, and for more resources, and for their efforts to fight against overly broad restrictions on state action and unlimited trade secret claims. We are grateful for their tireless efforts on behalf of public health and look forward to working with them to keep the pressure on EPA.

We sincerely hope that the EPA will move quickly to review, regulate and ban dangerous chemicals. In the mean time, we will continue to urge consumers and responsible companies to drive the worst of the worst chemicals out of our homes, schools and businesses. 

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