Our chemical safety laws must protect people and the environment, not chemical company profits

What's At Stake

Our families and communities have a right to be protected from toxic chemicals found in the products we use, the air we breathe, and the water we drink on a daily basis. Far too often, however, these toxic chemicals go unregulated, and the agencies that are charged with protecting us fail to consider or address the threat these substances pose to public health and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed rules to change the process it uses to evaluate the risks of toxic chemical exposures and the agency is asking for your input today.

The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) is the country’s main chemical safety law. It provides the EPA with broad authority to restrict or ban chemicals’ production, use, distribution, and disposal to protect human health and the environment.

When the law was first enacted in 1976, it was a failure. It allowed chemical companies to put chemicals on the market without showing that they were safe and provided little authority for the government to regulate chemicals that were widely known to cause cancer, developmental and reproductive harm, and other serious health effects.

For several decades, Earthjustice has been fighting alongside our clients and partners in the courtroom and the halls of Congress for badly needed upgrades to the Toxic Substances Control Act. These efforts resulted in sweeping amendments to the law in 2016 and a 2019 court decision rejecting the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back that amended law by disregarding critical kinds of exposures and risks, including risks from legacy uses of very toxic chemicals such as asbestos. On behalf of impacted communities and workers, we also challenged several of the Trump administration’s flawed risk evaluations in court and have pushed the Biden administration to stringently regulate known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.

This recently proposed rule from the EPA is a result of those efforts, and now we need to participate in the public comment period to ensure that EPA’s risk evaluations address all of the ways that people and the environmental are exposed to and harmed by toxic chemicals.

We are advocating for the strongest possible protections for human health and the environment with a particular focus on reducing the toxic burdens on low-income communities and communities of color, which have disproportionately borne the brunt of EPA’s failure to adequately evaluate and regulate toxic chemicals.

A sign warning of the presence of asbestos.
Even the EPA regulation banning virtually all uses of asbestos, a dangerous and well-known carcinogen, was struck down by the courts as not authorized because TSCA requires the “least burdensome” approach for the industry. (Ashley Whitworth / Shutterstock)

6 Days Remain

Delivery to Environmental Protection Agency

Important Notice

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Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.