A Strong New Chemical Safety Law Protects You
Why a new chemical safety law was necessary
Our nation’s main law governing chemical safety, the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 was seriously flawed and outdated. While the law attempted to regulate chemicals used in everyday products, the law was unable to protect the health of the American public from exposure to harmful chemicals. This broken law allowed tens of thousands of chemicals to remain on the market without any review of their safety. In addition it allowed chemical companies to put hundreds of new chemicals on the market every year without any demonstration that they were safe. Other problems with the law included:
- The government could not require testing of a chemical until it could prove the chemical posed a risk. Placing it in a Catch 22 situation
- While Americans assumed that chemicals used to make products like toys and food containers sold in the U.S. were regulated and tested for safety, they were not
- Companies had wide latitude to claim chemical information they submitted to the government to be trade secrets. This allowed chemical manufacturers to keep the ingredients in chemicals secret. Nearly 20 % of 80,000 chemicals were secret
New chemical safety law brings more protection to you and your Family
The Lautenberg Act, passed in June of this year, adopts far-reaching reforms of the TSCA. This law fixes the biggest problems with the old law. It gives EPA the tools necessary to ensure the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthens health protections for everyone. The law:
- Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.
- Requires a safety finding for new chemicals before they can enter the market
- Introduces a health-based safety standard
- Gives EPA enhanced authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals
- Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions
- Makes more information about chemicals available to groups who need to know such as health and environmental officials and professionals.
Prior to this new law, the U.S was behind in the increasingly global chemicals economy since major advances in chemicals laws and policies in other parts of world were more advanced. This new law brings U.S. chemicals policy into the 21st century.