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Congress Moves Forward on Overhaul of Toxic Substances Control Act

Earthjustice statement on a bill that must lead to more safety and better information about toxic substances in the items we use every day.

Art Allianz / Shutterstock
May 24, 2016
Washington, D.C. —

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today on a bill that would overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The bill is headed to the Senate where it is set to be adopted by unanimous consent. President Obama has already said that he will sign the bill into law.  

It is generally acknowledged that this act does not give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adequate authority to regulate chemicals. Indeed, of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, only a few hundred have been adequately tested for its effects on human health.  Even many chemicals known to be toxic are still legally used, such as asbestos and toxic flame retardants.  

Earthjustice has been aggressively demanding that EPA and other federal agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, do a better job of protecting the public from toxic chemicals found in household products and food.

The following is a statement from Lisa Garcia, Earthjustice’s Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities:

“Families and communities have a basic right to be protected from toxic substances found in the products and food they use on a daily basis. Far too often, these toxics go unregulated and people misinformed about the threat these substances pose to our health."

"Earthjustice is grateful to the members of Congress who have dedicated time and effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The ultimate test of this reform will not only be if whether EPA effectively and expeditiously uses its new authority to protect people from unsafe chemicals but also if it ensures that the public has essential information about how toxic these chemicals actually are."

“While we appreciate the work by so many, the final bill should been stronger. Earthjustice will be monitoring EPA’s implementation, and on behalf of our clients, will be advocating for the greatest possible protection for human health and the environment with a special eye to reducing the toxic burdens on low income communities and communities of color which have disproportionately borne the brunt of the failures of inadequate protections from toxics over the last forty years.”