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Help Pass the Toughest Bill Ever Aimed at Toxic Chemicals

by Josh Vincent — last modified Aug 03, 2010 04:47 PM
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HR 5820, also known as the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act, has been proposed by congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) as a much needed overhaul to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. If passed, it could yield great improvements on the fronts of corporate accountability and consumer safety. Please contact your legislators today and urge them to support this bill.

Late last month, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that could fundamentally change the way toxic chemicals are regulated in the United States. That bill was HR 5820, otherwise known as the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act (TCSA).

This bill would replace the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which has been criticized for failing to keep harmful chemicals out of consumer products and the environment. HR 5820 would improve public health protections by requiring chemical industries to ensure that their products are safe before entering them into the marketplace. This differs from the current practice which places the burden on the EPA to demonstrate that a given chemical is unsafe and that it should be regulated.

Other beneficial elements within the legislation include:

- Requirement that chemical manufacturers provide health and safety information for all chemicals they intend to sell.

- Requirement that chemicals meet higher health standards before being made available in the marketplace.

- A provision which allows the EPA to restrict toxic chemicals that accumulate in our food and in our bodies, such as brominated flame retardants.

- Extra protections for populations that are most vulnerable to toxic chemicals. This includes pregnant women, infants and children, and those living in environmental 'hot spots'.

There's a lot that needs to happen for a bill like HR 5820 to become law. First, it needs co-sponsors. You can help by sending a message to your legislator asking them to co-sponsor HR 5820!

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides is a member of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a large affiliation of environmental and health groups working to reform chemical policy nationwide.