States Push for Chemical Reform

Spray cleaners have a dark side, as shown by the group Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.© Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

States are taking the lead when it comes to chemical reform. On Sept. 2, 2010, a coalition of state agency environmental directors called the Environmental Council of the States adopted a resolution that called on the federal government to enact chemical regulation that really regulates. In other words, they are pushing for a new federal bill to replace the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which has allowed 80,000 chemicals in widespread manufacturing and use despite that fact that most have not been tested for basic toxicity.

The Environmental Working Group and others have demonstrated that as a result of widespread chemicals in the environment and consumer products, babies are born pre-polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals already present in their bloodstreams. They are among a coalition of groups backing significant chemical reform.

Many of the states" proposed measures mirror those of the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), including provisions to require the chemical industry to prove that both new and existing chemicals are safe before they are approved; to give the Environmental Protection Agency new authority regarding the oversight and restriction of chemicals and to allow states to continue regulating chemicals as they see fit.

SOURCES: Environmental Working Group; Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.