New chemical safety rules? The Wall Street Journal reported today that the House overwhelmingly approved new chemical safety rules covering thousands of chemicals used daily in our homes. Surprisingly, this is a bipartisan action that’s supported by trade groups, environmentalists and even retailers like Walmart and Target.
This bill will be the first update in 40 years to a federal chemical safety law. The current law has been virtually useless in evaluating chemicals being used into our daily products.” The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 gave the EPA authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.”
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, takes the first step in allowing the EPA to evaluate and restrict chemicals being used in our daily lives. The EPA will only be allowed to review 10 – 20 chemicals at a time and the reviews could take years. But it is a first step for us as consumers.
The Environmental Defense Fund called on the Senate to “immediately” pass the legislation. As Diane Regas from the EDF wrote in her blog, “After two decades of working for reform, environmental activists, state policymakers, and all of those who made this happen should celebrate. Congress didn’t get it done in time for my kids, but I am deeply grateful that my grandchildren will grow up in a safer, healthier world.”
“The Lautenberg Act fixes the biggest problems with our current law — by requiring safety reviews for chemicals in use today, mandating greater scrutiny of new chemicals before they can be sold, removing the barriers that prevented EPA from banning asbestos and other harmful chemicals, enhancing transparency, and much more,” said Dr. Richard Denison, EDF lead senior scientist. “While not perfect, this bill will be a dramatic improvement over current law.” quoted from the Environmental Leader
Personally, this gives me validation for what I do. It’s taken decades to reform our current policies. This new review process will be much slower than I’d like. But it does show that there is reason to be concerned about the things we use in our homes. Instead of relying on government agencies, we need to create our own “review policies” for the items we bring into our homes.