Americans Deserve a Bill That Protects Them from Dangerous Chemicals

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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WASHINGTON – A revised proposal to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 still falls short of what’s necessary to ensure that chemicals are safe, EWG said today.

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

The proposal being considered this week in the House falls short of what is needed to redress decades of neglect under a weak federal policy that resulted in a legacy of malfeasance by the chemical industry. The American public demands legislation that will ensure that chemicals in everyday products are safe.

In particular, the revised bill has an untested and ambiguous safety standard that fails to definitively exclude consideration of cost from decisions whether to regulate dangerous chemicals. It also fails to set tough deadlines for final regulatory action or provide the resources to quickly review the most dangerous chemicals. While the proposal provides a path for companies to pay for quick review and approval of their favorite chemicals, reviews of truly dangerous substances that persist in the environment and build up in our bodies would be at the mercy of the same lawmakers who have imposed deep budget cuts on the Environmental Protection Agency.

We are also concerned that the bill restricts the ability of people harmed by chemicals to win compensation for their losses in court. Given the past conduct of chemical companies and the lack of regulatory protection under law, this has often been the only recourse for individuals and communities harmed by chemical pollution. Finally, the proposal fails to subject EPA’s chemical safety decisions to the same standard of judicial review as other agency actions.

What America needs is congressional action that will dramatically and expeditiously lower the amounts of hundreds of dangerous chemicals in our daily lives and, indeed, in our bodies. We look forward to working with House lawmakers to give the EPA the tools it needs to ensure that outcome.