EPA Administrator Jackson Indicates Obama Administration Will Support Overhaul of Nation's Toxic Chemical Law
Environment and health advocates look to Congress for next steps
Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 235
Margie Kelly, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, (541) 222-9699
In a signal that the EPA has entered a new era, Administrator Lisa Jackson said the time had come to strengthen EPA’s authority to regulate toxic chemicals, which are ubiquitous in the environment and human bodies.
Jackson identified chemical management reform as one of her top priorities, and stated the administration’s guiding principles for overhauling the nation’s toxic chemical law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Legislation to reform TSCA is expected to be introduced in Congress this fall by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL).
Jackson said the 1976 law currently on the books has fallen behind the industry it was intended to regulate and that her agency needs better tools to protect Americans from toxic chemicals. She added the time is absolutely right for Congress to take the next step, passing a law to protect Americans from toxic chemicals.
"The chorus of voices calling for reform of our nation’s chemical regulations now includes the Obama administration, health professionals, environmental advocates, the states, and even industry," said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen. "Now we look to Congress to join the fight to protect our children and our environment from dangerous chemicals."
"The Obama administration is in sync with a public demanding safer chemicals and better information they can use to protect their families from toxic chemicals," said Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
The principles Jackson outlined to guide Congress in creating new legislation include:
- Chemicals must pass muster under a safety standard that protects human health and the environment;
- Responsibility for providing data rests with the chemical industry, not taxpayers;
- EPA must have clear authority to take quick action to restrict use of chemicals that violate the safety standard;
- Manufacturers and EPA should assess and act on priority chemicals, both existing and new, in a timely manner;
- Vulnerable populations, especially children, must be given special consideration when setting safety standards;
- Green chemistry, which will lead to safer chemicals, should be encouraged and the public’s right to know about chemicals must be ensured;
- The EPA should be given a sustained source of funding for implementation and the chemical industry must pay its fair share to implement the new standards.
Read the EPA’s Framework for Chemical Management Reform
For more information, go to www.saferchemicals.org.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.