Who is Looking Out for the Health of America’s Children? House Chemicals Bill Favors Industry Over Families

WASHINGTON – The bill passed by the House of Representatives today to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 falls short of what’s necessary to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe, EWG said.

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

American citizens expect chemicals in commerce to be safe, but they know that, far too often, this is not the case. Congress has neglected the problem of dangerous chemicals in consumer products for decades, to the great benefit of chemical industry profits. American families have waited far too long for a strong regulatory program that aggressively protects their children’s health and safety from toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, at least 1000 toxic chemicals deserve immediate attention. And we need assurance that the most dangerous chemicals will be regulated or banned in a timely manner. We commend the House for its focus on the need to overhaul chemical policy, but this piece of legislation will not do the job. It tips much too far in favor of an industry in serious need of regulation.

While H.R. 2576 preserves some role for the states, which have stepped in to fill a void left by federal inaction, it 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. 

This is a sad day for American families who have waited far too long for chemical safety reform that will ensure that chemicals are safe. This was the time to get this piece of legislation right. The House failed to do so.

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