Prevention – House Zika Prevention Spending Bill to be Released; Senate to Vote on Separate Bills

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) announced that he will release a stand-alone Zika funding bill on Monday, May 16. He declined to offer a specific dollar figure, but said it would be lower than the $1.1 billion emergency funding proposal in the Senate. Chairman Rogers has insisted that the package be offset by cuts to other programs or by reprogramming. On the Senate side, lawmakers are expected to take votes on three different Zika aid packages on Tuesday. Two of the measures are emergency funding packages and one from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) contains offsets. See The Arc’s action alert.

Prevention – House and Senate to Host Briefings Today on Zika and Birth Defects

Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) will host separate briefings today on “What You Need to Know About Zika and Birth Defects.” Panelists will be Coleen Boyle, Director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; Cynthia Moore, Director of the CDC Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders; and Dr. Kristy Murray, Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine. Panelists will discuss what scientists are learning about adverse birth outcomes associated with the Zika virus and what CDC and partner organizations around the world are doing to learn more.

Prevention – Webinar on Lead Poisoning on May 3

The Coalition on Human Needs is sponsoring a webinar, Child Lead Poisoning: Preventable Harm, on Tuesday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The lead poisoning of children and adults in Flint, Michigan has focused the nation’s attention on the increased risk for developmental delay and disability from contamination of the water supply. Lead in water affects many communities nationwide, and that lead from paint in older buildings is an even more prevalent source of child poisoning. This webinar will provide expert evidence about the consequences of lead poisoning in children, examples of work being done in Flint and Philadelphia to prevent it, and timely information about Congressional proposals to fund the solutions. Please register here

Toxic Chemicals reform bill passed by Senate Committee

On July 25, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). This was the first official action by a Congressional Committee to address the problem of chemical exposures in 36 years since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently has limited authority to fully protect the public from toxic chemicals, many of which are linked to developmental problems, neurological deficits, cancer, and impaired fertility. The previous day, on July 24, the full Committee and the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health held a joint hearing entitled, “Oversight of EPA Authorities and Actions to Control Exposures to Toxic Chemicals.” Visit the EPW website to view the webcast. 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.

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.

Senate holds hearing on the Safe Chemicals Act

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and its Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health Subcommittee held a hearing on S. 847, sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). This bill would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 by requiring chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate safety based on the best available science. Currently, TSCA greatly limits the EPA’s ability to require safety testing or regulate a chemical. As a result, EPA has been able to require testing for only about 200 chemicals out of more than 80,000 in its inventory. The Arc supports the Safe Chemical Act which would help to reduce exposures to chemicals that are increasingly being linked to cancer, birth defects, learning and behavioral problems, infertility, asthma, and nervous system disorders. Visit the Environment and Public Works committee website for written statements and an archived webcast of the hearing. Learn more at Safer Chemicals, Healthier Communities, a diverse coalition of organizations of which The Arc is a member.