No child should be exposed to toxic chemicals in their sippy cups, shampoo, or mattress. But the truth is, toxic chemicals are in every day household products and too many of these chemicals are linked to learning disabilities, autism, cancer, and other health problems. Over a quarter of learning and developmental disabilities are caused in whole or in part from toxic chemicals and other environmental factors.
Last year, the US Congress took major steps toward chemical safety reform by passing bills to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Senate passed its bill just before the holidays; the House passed its chemical safety bill in June. Now, the two pieces of legislation must be combined before the final version can go to President Obama for his signature.
Tell Congress we need reform that goes forward, not backward.
Both bills contain fundamental reforms that empower EPA to test chemicals and to restrict them when needed to protect public health and the environment.
Unfortunately, there are also provisions, especially in the Senate bill, that exist solely to help out special interests. For example, the Senate bill makes it harder for EPA to restrict chemicals in imported products. It would let some chemicals off the hook without a thorough safety review and it would block states from taking action on chemicals while EPA is reviewing their safety, which could take years. The House bill largely avoids those problems but it fails to provide EPA with new resources and a mandatory schedule.
Tell Congress to make the final bill as strong as possible.
The final bill should combine the best of both bills, rather than the worst. It should ensure that EPA makes steady progress every year. It should have no loopholes or rollbacks and it should preserve the ability of state governments to protect their citizens.