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Reforming Our Broken Regulatory System

One of the fundamental weaknesses of the Toxic Substances Control Act is that chemicals can enter the marketplace with virtually no oversight—because the EPA lacks authority to obtain data about the chemical from the manufacturer or even to determine whet

One of the fundamental weaknesses of the Toxic Substances Control Act is that chemicals can enter the marketplace with virtually no oversight—because the EPA lacks authority to obtain data about the chemical from the manufacturer or even to determine whether it is safe.

Photo by Architect of the Capitol

Earthjustice is working to reduce harmful substances so that the air we breathe, the water we drink and the products we use don’t harm our bodies or our environment.

Consumers have a right to know about the harmful chemicals we’re exposed to, but instead we get secrecy. The chemical industry employs political pressure, bogus science and overreaching claims of “trade secrets” to keep their products from being properly vetted; government regulators are paralyzed by never-ending review; and workers and consumers are stuck with a system that fails to keep us safe from chemicals that can harm us and our families.

The Toxic Substances Control Act, unlike every other major environmental law, has never been significantly amended since its adoption in 1976.

Earthjustice is reforming our broken regulatory system by:

  1. Protecting the public’s right to know about harmful substances in their homes and workplaces. Earthjustice is currently working to ensure that the government can continue to alert the American public to potentially dangerous chemicals like styrene. We’re also fighting to limit the use of toxic ingredients found in household cleaners, fracking chemicals and dispersants used to clean up oil spills.
  2. Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) through work with citizens’ groups and members of Congress to push for and craft regulations that will better protect people and the environment from toxic chemicals. Because the Act fails to require companies to ensure that a product is safe before it enters the market, TCSA may need to be completely overhauled.
  3. Creating momentum for better regulation. Our coalition of advocates includes the American Federation of Teachers, United Steelworkers, and environmental justice groups, who, in many cases, bear the brunt of pollution from toxic chemicals. Earthjustice is also a leader in the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a broad-based alliance of groups representing citizens and workers who are pushing for chemical reform.