Posts tagged: TSCA

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TSCA


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Eve Gartner's blog posts
26 November 2013, 2:10 PM
Beginning in 2014, furniture no longer must be treated with toxics
Chemicals like those used in flame retardants in household furniture often escape as vapor or airborne particles. (PSR LA)

Chemical flame retardants, which are present in a wide array of household products, have been linked to cancer and developmental, neurological and reproductive problems. 

And chances are, if you are sitting on a padded chair or couch, it contains these noxious chemicals. To make matters worse, these chemicals are not sealed into the furniture and so they migrate into the air and attach to house dust. Most Americans, especially those living in California, have high body burden levels of flame retardants with children having the highest levels. Wastewater transports these chemicals into the outdoor environment where they have been detected in surface waters, sediments and wildlife around the globe. 

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View Marianne Engelman Lado's blog posts
10 September 2013, 1:57 PM
Rules would have increased information about dangerous chemicals
Recent moves by the EPA could keep important scientific information about chemicals hidden from the public. (Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock)

To say we at Earthjustice are disappointed regarding the recent news that the Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn two chemical rules would be an understatement.

EPA’s decision to pull these rules is truly a shame because the proposed regulations would have increased transparency of health and safety information related to potentially dangerous chemicals. We already have detailed the many reasons why our existing chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is woefully deficient and outdated – and now this. The two rules are years-old initiatives to compile a federal "chemicals of concern" list and to reform confidentiality rules for health and safety studies related to new chemicals.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
01 August 2013, 2:03 PM
Among them, specific protections to most vulnerable populations
Sen. Boxer chairs the Senate EPW Committee.

Yes, there are tons of chemicals we as Americans are exposed to on a daily basis that are dangerous and harmful to our health. Thankfully, some elected officials understand this concern.

Wednesday, after she convened a hearing in the Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said:

Now that we have concluded our in-depth hearing, it is very clear that certain principles must be the center piece of any toxic chemical reform bill moving forward.

The hearing discussed various legislative fixes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). While Earthjustice applauded the monumental introduction of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, we also stated that we couldn’t support it unless critical clarifications and changes are adopted.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
11 June 2013, 12:58 PM
NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s death a blow to all Americans
Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

There was a time that airline travel exposed passengers to a deadly peril: secondhand cigarette smoke. Not so for more than 25 years now, thanks to the dogged persistence of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who pushed for and successfully passed a smoking prohibition on flights which led to smoke-free workplaces and other areas.

Last week Sen. Lautenberg died after a long illness and Americans lost an unwavering champion who also went to bat for clean air, water and land. Sen. Lautenberg championed Superfund, passed vital laws that kept NJ’s drinking water clean, combatted climate change, and aimed to keep our communities, oceans and waterways clear from toxic waste. His passing is a blow to all of us.

One of Sen. Lautenberg’s final efforts was overhauling the weak and outdated Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Lautenberg aimed to breathe new life into what he called “a long-dead statute” by proposing that the EPA be empowered to get tough on toxic chemicals. The senator spent nearly the last 10 years on this issue. Sen. Lautenberg said of the issue:

Chemical safety reform is not a Democratic or Republican issue; it is a common-sense issue.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
16 April 2013, 2:41 PM
Washington Post story highlights threats from flame retardants
Chemicals like those used in flame retardants in household furniture often escape as vapor or airborne particles. (PSR LA)

Next time I sit down on a couch, I’m going to think twice. Turns out that simple action can accelerate the release of flame retardant chemicals, which are harmful to human health. And no one should think they are safe from these chemicals: this Washington Post article cites a CDC test analyzing blood samples from 2003 and 2004, finding that 97 percent of Americans carry flame retardants in their blood.

These chemicals are present in a wide array of household products and have been linked to cancer and developmental, neurological and reproductive problems. Flame retardants are used in building materials, electronics, furnishings (including those used by infants and children such as nap mats), motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics and textiles. Also, there is strong evidence that for many uses—such as furnishings and infant and children’s products—there’s no proven fire safety benefit from the use of flame retardants.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
10 April 2013, 12:13 PM
Senator's eighth attempt to replace outdated TSCA law
Sen. Lautenberg: "It’s time to break away from the chemical industry lobbyists and listen to concerned parents, pediatricians, and nurses who are demanding change."

Americans need a law that will keep them safe from toxic chemicals—before they are allowed to enter the market.

And that’s why we should be thanking Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Today, Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), joined by 27 other senators, introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2013,” a landmark bill that seeks to protect families in America from exposure to harmful chemicals.

Sen. Lautenberg has been dogged in his determination to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, an outdated chemical policy. He has sponsored this legislation numerous times during his Congressional career. His proposal would strengthen the authority of the EPA to learn more about the safety of chemicals and limit their use if they pose a threat to public health and the environment.

View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
29 March 2013, 2:26 PM
Injustices plague farmworkers while administration turns a blind eye
Cesar E. Chavez warned about the perils of pesticides. (Joel Levine)

The agriculture industry relies heavily on the use of pesticides, which are highly toxic chemicals that farmworkers and surrounding communities are frequently exposed to through simply doing their jobs or living near agricultural sites. Pesticides enter the body through inhalation and penetration of the skin. The latest statistics indicate that in 2007, 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides were used in the United States, and 80 percent were destined for agriculture. Among these, 33 million pounds were organophosphates, a particularly pernicious class of pesticides that are the most frequent culprits of acute poisonings of farmworkers.

Our nation’s farmworkers live and work at ground zero for pesticide exposure.  In a 1989 speech before Pacific Lutheran University, Cesar E. Chavez, a beloved labor and civil rights leader and an indefatigable voice for farmworkers, warned about the perils of pesticides and called on the nation to recognize the challenges that plague farmworkers, such as fighting for higher wages and improved working conditions. We’d be ignoring a greater evil if we failed to protect them from “systematic poisoning through the reckless use of agricultural toxics.”  In raising the urgency to protect farmworkers, their families and surrounding rural communities from pesticides, he shared stories of workers collapsing and dying after entering recently sprayed fields, children with birth defects and neurological problems and cancer. Meanwhile, workers were repeatedly told that the pesticides they were frequently exposed to were merely plant “medicine” they need not fear.  

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
01 August 2012, 6:19 AM
Environmental, health groups support two health protections
Newborns are especially vulnerable to the toxic flame retardant chemical PBDE. (Image of child via Shutterstock)

Last week we spoke about the weaknesses in the current law protecting Americans from toxic chemicals. Today we submitted comments to EPA urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with health protections that would regulate polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are a group of toxic flame retardants. The health-protective actions we are urging EPA to take would impose some of the most stringent restrictions permitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the flawed and obsolete statute that ties EPA’s hands in trying to ensure the safety of the chemicals that are produced and used in this country. The comments were prepared with Environmental Defense Fund on behalf of 33 other groups

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
24 July 2012, 1:11 PM
Chemicals aren't dangerous unless proven so
Firefighters are often exposed to a “chemical cocktail” of emissions from flame retardant chemicals. (BLS)

At a Senate hearing, today, about the EPA's authority to control exposures to toxic chemicals, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.) wondered aloud: what would Americans say if asked whether they thought products containing poisonous chemicals are tested before being sold.

Most probably think there is a system in place to protect them from such products before they make their way into homes and bodies, Boxer guessed. “That a chemical has to be proven safe before it is used."

But that is not the case, she said. “In actuality, the EPA has to prove that it is unsafe.”

At an oversight hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, discussion focused on chemical flame retardants as a prime example of what is wrong with the federal law that regulates chemicals. The committee heard from an EPA official, a mother and legislator, scientist, San Francisco firefighter and talking heads for industry.

View Emily Enderle's blog posts
08 February 2011, 12:56 PM
Is this convenience too good to be true?
Emily at work.

(Editor's note: This is a cross post from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.)

In this fast-paced world, who has time for ironing?

Not me. Between educating policy-makers on the need to protect Americans from toxic chemicals during the week and playing sports on the weekends, I barely have time to wash my clothes let alone iron them.

Not only is ironing time consuming, it somehow manages to be both futile and really scary at the same time. By the time I finish navigating that chrome-coated burn machine around the buttons, cuffs, and collars on my work shirts, about all I have to show for my efforts is a moderately less wrinkled shirt and a scalded forearm or two. Seriously, the bounce cycle on my dryer produces more consistent results.

Which is why when I discovered wrinkle-free (!) shirts, I thanked my lucky stars and quickly stocked my work wardrobe with multiple colors and styles of these perpetually pressed wonders.