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Congress Gears Up Debate Over 35 Year-Old Chemical Law – Broad Coalition Urges Public Health Approach

Congressional Hearing on Toxic Substances Control Act Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 10 AM

This Thursday, Feb. 3 Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) will reopen the debate over updating the 35 year-old law that governs federal chemicals policy by holding a hearing with key public health and industry experts.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families – a coalition of nearly 300 environmental health groups – are urging that overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act includes: 1) Taking action to restrict those chemicals already known to be dangerous, including persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals; 2) Requiring health and safety information for all chemicals in order for them to enter or remain on the market; and 3) Using the best science – including the latest recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences – on how to better assess risks from chemicals to protect all people and vulnerable groups.

Under current law, the EPA has required testing on just 200 of the nearly 80,000 existing chemicals, and restricted only five.

“For the last decade Republicans and Democrats have been updating chemical policies in their states to protect the health of their constituents,” said Andy Igrejas, campaign director for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. “But those efforts are not enough to guarantee that chemicals found in people’s homes and places of work are safe. We believe there is agreement from all sides — the chemical industry, downstream users of chemicals, and health and environmental advocates — that the Toxic Substances Control Act will finally be updated in the 112th Congress.”

  • WHAT: Hearing on the Toxic Substances Control Act organized by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s toxics subpanel
  • WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m.
  • WHERE: 406 Dirksen, Washington, DC
  • WHO: Steve Owens, U.S. EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention; Kelly Semrau, senior vice president at SC Johnson & Son Inc.; Steve Goldberg, vice president at BASF Corp.; Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke; American Chemistry Council President Cal Dooley; and Lynn Goldman, dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.