If we want to transform how our society thinks about and uses chemicals, we need to shift markets and shift policy.
Today two initiatives were launched that will take us in the right direction:
- The reintroduction of the Safe Chemicals Act in the U.S. Senate by Frank Lautenberg and Kirsten Gillibrand
- The launch of Mind The Store, a campaign targeting retailers headed by our partners at the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition
The Safe Chemicals Act would overhaul the archaic Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. A Philadelphia Inquirer article mentions our involvement in this issue and notes that TSCA is the only major environmental law passed in the 1970s that hasn’t been updated:
“When it was passed, TSCA grandfathered in about 60,000 chemicals. Now, more than 80,000 chemicals are in common use. The EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence of potential danger. The EPA has been able to require testing on only about 200 chemicals, and has regulated or banned five.”
The bill would give the EPA the necessary tools to oversee safety testing of toxic chemicals. It would put the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe before being put in products we use in our homes and schools.
We were also mentioned in a USA Today article about Mind the Store, a campaign headed by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition asking the top 10 retailers in the country to determine whether or not hazardous chemicals are present in the products they sell. If these retailers do sell products containing chemicals from the Hazardous 100+ List, we're asking them to develop a public action plan within the next 12 months to address these chemicals, including reducing, eliminating or safely substituting the chemicals as appropriate.
In the end, we need both market and legislative initiatives to change the landscape of chemical use in our country. Take action by telling your senator to support the Safe Chemicals Act. Its passage will reduce breast cancer incidence in our country and lead to a healthier world for future generations.