Sen. Boxer Specifies Changes to Weak Toxics Law
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…
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.
One of the fundamental weaknesses of the current TSCA law 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. The bill continues this blind approach to chemicals management by requiring the EPA to decide which chemicals should get highest priority for regulation without giving EPA the authority to demand the data needed to make the decision. The EPA should have adequate safety data before it decides which chemicals are priorities for regulation.
While the dialogue of reform has just begun, here are specifics that Sen. Boxer called for:
- Protection for our most vulnerable populations, including children.
- Timeframes for EPA to act on the most dangerous chemicals.
- Protection of our families by ensuring that states have the ability to act on harmful toxins.
- Protection of all victims to hold all responsible parties to account in case of harm.
Raviya was a press secretary at Earthjustice in the Washington, D.C. office from 2008 to 2014, working on issues including federal rulemakings, energy efficiency laws and coal ash pollution.
Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office works at the federal level to prevent air and water pollution, combat climate change, and protect natural areas. We also work with communities in the Mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere to address severe local environmental health problems, including exposures to dangerous air contaminants in toxic hot spots, sewage backups and overflows, chemical disasters, and contamination of drinking water. The D.C. office has been in operation since 1978.