How old were you in 1976? I was 7, the #1 hit song was "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney and Wings, and gas cost 59 cents a gallon. These and most things have changed in the last 32 years, but not our country's toxic chemical regulatory law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was passed that year. And it's never been amended. Never. Even though it declared safe some 62,000 chemicals already on the market at the time, despite having little or no data to support the policy. Since that time, another 20,000 chemicals have been put into commerce in the U.S., also with little or no data to support their safety.
Hardly the kind of protection I want for my family, especially during my two pregnancies, when exposures are so very potent. The result? Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Our testing has identified 455 chemicals in people and, more astonishing still, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe.
We are at a tipping point, where the pollution in people is increasingly associated with a range of serious diseases and conditions from childhood cancer, to autism, ADHD, learning deficits, infertility, and birth defects. Yet even as our knowledge about the link between chemical exposure and human disease grows, the government has almost no authority to protect people from even the most hazardous chemicals on the market. Under TSCA, the EPA does not have the authority to demand the information it needs to evaluate a chemical's risk, and neither manufacturers nor the EPA are required to prove a chemical's safety as a condition of use.