Reformed Chemical Laws Will Protect Public Health and Drinking Water
Washington DC -Clean Water Action welcomed progress in the debate over federal management of chemicals with today's introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL). The legislation would overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, widely agreed to be out of date and ineffective.
"The dramatic increase in health problems associated with toxic chemical exposure and renewed concern over chemicals in drinking water tell us that it is time to get serious about identifying problem chemicals and getting them out of products and out of the environment," said John DeCock, Clean Water Action President."
The legislation would require manufacturers to provide health and safety data on chemicals and to meet a safety standard that protects vulnerable populations including infants and children. It would also require faster action on notorious chemicals like formaldehyde, vinyl chloride, and flame retardants and indentify and expedite clean-up at toxic "hot spots." Clean Water Action will work with allies to win improvements in the bill including provisions to give EPA authority to immediately restrict production and use of the most dangerous chemicals, including persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals like asbestos and lead, which already have been extensively studied and are restricted by governments around the world.
More effective management of chemicals would keep harmful chemicals out of drinking water sources rather than relying on federal drinking water standards and treatment to limit them in finished tap water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set enforceable limits for 80 chemicals and chemicals groups in drinking water. EPA's Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) includes 104 chemicals or chemicals groups for which regulation could be warranted. "Requiring manufacturers to prove chemical safety and cracking down on the worst toxic chemicals could reduce the burden on public water systems and on the drinking water standard-setting process itself," said Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action National Campaigns Coordinator.
Clean Water Action is part of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition, a broad group of over 200 organizations working to reform toxic chemical policy. "The Safe Chemicals Act goes a long way toward bringing chemical policy into the 21st century," said Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, on a press teleconference held today. "We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill to keep dangerous chemicals out of the marketplace."
Clean Water Action is the nation's leading grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1 million members nationwide. For over thirty years, Clean Water Action has been a leader in protecting America's waters, the public health and empowering people to take charge of their environmental future. www.cleanwateraction.org