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Final chemical reform bill headed for votes this week


Statement from Andy Igrejas, the Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a broad coalition of 450 public health and environmental organizations, labor unions and progressive businesses that spearheaded the effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The House Rules Committee unveiled final legislation (HR 2576) today that will be voted on in both the House and Senate over the next two days. The bill will be the first major environmental legislation to pass Congress since the mid-1990’s. The final version is substantially changed from the version introduced three years ago by Senator Vitter and the late Senator Lautenberg. That legislation was widely viewed as rolling back both federal and state authority in sweeping ways. After three years of often difficult negotiations and the engagement of thousands of experts and diverse constituencies, the legislation has substantially improved though it still falls short of what most public health and environmental organizations can endorse.

Andy Igrejas, the Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, issued the following statement on the final deal.

“Our coalition came together because our federal policy has failed to protect American families from toxic chemicals that contribute to unnecessary disease, disability and environmental degradation. The final legislation unveiled today contains reforms that should empower EPA to tackle the worst chemicals and make progress in addressing that problem. The pace will still be slow, however, and much will depend on how the program is implemented. Unfortunately, the legislation also contains curbs on state authority and a provision that may make it harder for EPA to intercept toxic chemicals in imported products. We will need to remain vigilant to ensure the strongest possible safeguards.

Compared to the draft that surfaced last week, improvements were made that preserve the ability of states to take action on many of the worst chemicals in the near future, including toxic flame retardants. Those provisions will have a real-world impact and we thank the negotiators for including them.”

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