We see a lot of chemical industry shenanigans in our legislative efforts to protect people from toxic chemicals, both in Washington and in statehouses. But this is too much:
Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, last year opposed the Safe Chemicals Act, and pledged to write his own bill on chemical regulations. Based on reports of who he's been meeting with—Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil—and who he's not—no health or environmental groups, to our knowledge—this bill promises to be less about protecting people from toxic chemicals than about protecting chemical companies from regulation.
Now Sen. Vitter is trying to drum up bipartisan support for his "Pro-Chemicals Act." If you're not sure where your senators stand on chemicals policy reform, now's the time to ask.
We suspect Sen. Vitter's bill will be introduced around the same time as Sen. Lautenberg reintroduces the Safe Chemicals Act—a classic case of strategic confusion. But make no mistake: the Lautenberg bill is the one that protects our health.
In fact, a recent federal advisory committee report on breast cancer points to key elements of the Safe Chemicals Act—safety standards that protect human health (and follow recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics), required safety reviews of new chemicals by manufacturers, action on chemicals found to be toxic—in its recommendations for breast cancer prevention.
By contrast, Sen. Vitter has gone on record opposing both the safety standard proposed in the Safe Chemicals Act and safety reviews for new chemicals.
Email or call your senator's office now and ask him or her to steer clear of Sen. Vitter's bad bill and instead support Sen. Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act. ExxonMobil and Sen. Vitter don't speak for us.