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Chemical Reform Fight Goes Online; New Video Mocks PR/Lobbying Efforts by Industry

Public Health vs. Industry Debate Takes Center Stage in Pending Bill to Overhaul Toxic Substances Control Act

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families – a broad environmental and public health coalition – today released a new animated online video that exposes the chemical industry for undermining Congressional action on chemicals, even as they publicly declare their support for reform.

“For the last year the chemical industry has expressed support for reform and taken bows for being forward thinking,” said Andy Igrejas, the director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “Yet they have relentlessly attacked reform efforts in Congress. We hope to expose that contradiction and urge Congress to get tough on toxic chemicals now.”

The short video – Toxic Chemical Lobby: Exclusive Leaked Footage – is set inside a boardroom of the chemical industry during a brainstorming session about how to weaken pending legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the 1976 law that allows a wide variety of dangerous chemicals in consumer products. Board members are depicted as household products made with toxic chemicals, including a baby bottle made with BPA, a reclining chair made with formaldehyde, and a cell phone made with brominated flame retardants – all of which are associated with cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive problems or asthma.

“Although this is a humorous cartoon, the issue of toxic chemicals is no joke,” said Igrejas. “The fact is we are all exposed to a variety of chemicals from consumer products and no one is minding the store. That has to change.”

In April Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) unveiled legislation to overhaul TSCA, which the House is expected to take up this summer. The bills would require basic health and safety information for chemicals before they are allowed on the market, and give EPA authority to take the most dangerous chemicals out of products, among other provisions.

Of the 62,000 chemicals on the market at the time TSCA passed in 1976, EPA has only required testing on about 200; and it has only regulated five.

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For more information on the policy differences, the proposed legislation, and the state of the science, please visit the Legislative Update page.