Senators call for reform of the toxic chemicals law

On July 9, a bipartisan group of 26 Senators sent a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize its rulemaking regarding a class of toxic flame retardant chemicals.   Flame retardants are toxic chemicals suspected to cause developmental problems, neurological deficits, cancer, and impaired fertility. The letter also acknowledges that the EPA has limited authority to fully protect the public from these toxic chemicals under the current Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and calls for reforms to the law to adequately protect American families from dangerous chemicals.   Under the TSCA of 1976, the burden is on the EPA to prove chemicals are dangerous, rather than on companies to prove they are safe. The law requires manufacturers to submit safety data only if they have it. Most don’t, resulting in the EPA knowing little, if anything, about the safety of most of the 84,000 industrial compounds in use in the U.S.   The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), would reform the law by requiring chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and EPA to evaluate safety based on the best available science. The Arc supports the Safe Chemicals Act. Learn more at Safer Chemicals, Healthier Communities, a diverse coalition of organizations of which The Arc is a member.

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