ToxicFree Foundation / Articles

The bizarre way the U.S. regulates chemicals…

Since 1976 the United States has tried to protect Americans from potentially harmful chemicals with regulation known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The intention of our government was of course to use the act to protect the public from hazardous chemicals used in the everyday products such as pesticides, drugs, and cosmetics. Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post there are “so many hoops for regulators to jump through that it has often rendered them powerless.” There are numerous problems with the nearly 40 year old piece of legislation. The most concerning is that when it was put in place the “TSCA allowed all 62,000 chemicals that were in commerce before 1976, the year it became law, to stay on the market unless the Environmental Protection Agency later found that they posed an “unreasonable risk.’” Furthermore, since the law has been in place, only 5 chemicals have been banned. 5 total. And while any new chemicals that come to market are required to be reviewed by the EPA, the EPA is only given 90 days to study them. That is of course not nearly enough time to determine the harm they could potentially cause. There is now a new piece of legislation that is going to be examined, the Vitter-Udal bill. The bill would seek to be a middle ground between the government and chemical companies. Let’s hope this time the government doesn’t bargain with our health, and passes a strict law that regulates potentially harmful chemicals.

For more on the issues with the Toxic Substances Control Act, as well as the Vitter-Udal bill, click the link: