Posts tagged: 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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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 September 2010, 11:13 AM
Consumers will get info on what's in their household cleaners

A few months ago, I told you about our tough legal fight in New York to force household cleaner manufacturers to reveal what chemicals they are putting in products that we use every day in our homes.

Today, I am glad to report that our work has persuaded the state of New York to take action. The Commissioner of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation last week told manufacturers to disclose what their products contain and any health risks they pose, the first such request ever made by regulators in any state. (You can send Commissioner Pete Grannis a note of thanks here.)

This is a huge win for consumers that wouldn't have happened without strong legal pressure.

You might recall from my previous column that a long-forgotten state law requiring manufacturers to come clean was unearthed by former Earthjustice attorney Keri Powell a few years ago. Following her discovery, Earthjustice and our coalition partners mounted an aggressive legal and advocacy campaign that ultimately triggered the state's decision to start enforcing this important right-to-know law. A big thanks go out to our supporters, who held green-cleaning parties in their homes and helped generate nearly 40,000 emails to decision-makers and cleaning product companies.

But, this isn't just a victory for New York state. Because many of the manufacturers doing business in the state of New York sell their products throughout the U.S., we all stand to benefit. After all, Procter & Gamble's Mr. Clean products and other national brands are the same whether you're in Poughkeepsie or Portland.

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View Emily Enderle's blog posts
10 August 2010, 10:33 AM
Hormone-disrupting BPA free with purchase

I've got a chronic habit of holding onto receipts for the items I buy. Just in case a moment of clarity strikes and I realize I don't need that time-saving gadget or extraneous accessory after all.

But it turns out that as a woman of child-bearing age, this practice poses a greater danger to me than just encouraging indecisive shopping. New evidence suggests that these slips of paper we handle so often are coated in the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA)—putting each of us and our children, even those unborn, at risk. BPA is widely recognized as an endocrine disruptor (a substance that can alter how our hormones are regulated in our bodies). Reports from across the globe have stated that BPA can cause cancer, erectile dysfunction, and child development problems.

Flipping through the Global Times on a flight to Tibet from the Yunnan Province in China the other day, I came across an article reporting that pregnant women and many other people in Shanghai are no longer taking receipts from places like grocery stores and ATMs because of concerns about BPA. Women in the United States are doing the same.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
30 July 2010, 2:25 PM
Under our current chemical law, it’s kind of unavoidable
Is this family an unwitting research subject in a chemical industry experiment?

I don't ever remember checking a box giving anyone permission to pollute my body with mysterious chemicals. I'm guessing you don't either.

But because of our weak chemical safety law, you and I are being exposed to toxic chemicals without our consent. The law that should be protecting us—the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA)—doesn't require chemical makers to prove the 80,000 chemicals made in the U.S. are safe before they end up in the everyday things that make up our lives—from the receipts in your wallet to the food packaging in your cupboard, from the jewelry around your neck to the sofa in your living room.

That's why this week Earthjustice and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition launched a series of ads to remind members of Congress that it's up to them to pull the plug on this unregulated experiment and get to work fixing our nation's chemical law.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 February 2010, 4:30 PM
Historic litigation may shine light on toxic ingredients

Do household cleaners contain ingredients linked to asthma, nerve damage and other health effects? Manufacturers aren't telling, but Earthjustice attorney Keri Powell may have uncovered the key to their pursed lips.

While investigating a potential legal strategy, Keri found buried in the pages of a book of New York State statutes a long-forgotten law authorizing the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to require household cleaning product manufacturers to disclose their chemical ingredients and information about the health risks they pose. In other words, pay dirt.

State regulations issued in 1976 made these disclosures mandatory. Such laws are practically nonexistent in the United States, and the New York law has been altogether overlooked.

Until now.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 October 2009, 12:00 PM
EPA chief asks Congress for new law to protect public from toxic threats

Suppose I asked you to drive a nail into the wall and then handed you a banana to do it. At best you'd make a mess of it—the same mess faced by the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to keeping the public safe from toxic chemicals. Right job, wrong tool.

Congress handed the EPA a banana in 1976 called the Toxic Substances Control Act, a law that EPA chief Lisa Jackson herself recently described as "an inadequate tool for providing the protection against chemical risks that the public rightfully expects." The numbers bear her out: EPA has required safety testing of only 200 of the roughly 82,000 chemicals registered for use under TSCA. These are chemicals in products that we all encounter every day, from household cleaners to cell phones, toys, carpets and food containers. The result is more potentially hazardous chemicals in our bodies than ever before.

Recognizing this tremendous failure to protect the public, Jackson is asking Congress for a hammer.

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View Susan Britton's blog posts
14 October 2009, 12:47 PM
It's hard to believe trade group's sudden change of heart

I know I am not alone in applauding EPA's recent announcement that it plans to push for reform of that 60-page weakling, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and develop "action plans" for several exceptionally bad actors, among them perfluorinated chemicals, phthalates and bisphenol A.

As it stands now, EPA has no authority to require manufacturers to submit toxicity or ecotoxicity information about the chemicals they produce, and no authority to require testing of any chemical on the market without clearing impossibly high hurdles. Not surprisingly, EPA has managed to regulate only a handful of chemicals in over three decades. So any talk of reform is cause for celebration.

But is that in fact the American Chemistry Council—the nation's most influential chemical manufacturers' trade group—cheering along in agreement?

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