US Senate to Chemical Industry: Merry Christmas

Lawmakers leave toxic lump in the stockings of American children

A Statement from Clean and Healthy New York

December 18, 2015


Last night, with virtually no advance warning and before making the final language public, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.  The U.S. House of Representatives passed a very different bill in June, and neither will become law unless reconciled.


Kathy Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York, issued the following statement in response to the Senate vote:


“Last night’s vote was immediately hailed by the American Chemistry Council and their apologists. The language, which was kept secret until the vote, is a huge Christmas present to chemical makers, who seek to prevent states from taking action and want to ensure ongoing use of chemicals in products, all while adding enough window dressing of reform to convince the public that chemicals are safer. While the bill has improved from the appalling state of its initial introduction, it still looks like a toxic lump to be left at the bottom of children’s stockings.

Among the Senate bill’s many problems, this version would:

  • Make it unlikely the US EPA will regulate imported products from China and elsewhere that contain banned chemicals. As testing by CHNY and others has shown, many imported products made for children contain toxic chemicals that threaten their health.

  • Erect significant barriers for states to take actions to protect their own residents from hazardous chemicals, even before the USEPA takes action.

  • Make EPA prioritize identification of and green-light use of chemicals ‘likely’ to meet a safety standard, without full evidence, rather than taking action on problem chemicals.

  • Create frameworks for action that are subject to adequate staffing and resources, which have not historically been allocated. While some provisions may look good on paper, in reality, any federal process for understanding and acting to change chemical production and use will proceed at a glacial pace at best.

Our children and grandchildren deserve a chemical management system that does not leave them with a toxic legacy, and this isn’t the reform we’ve worked on for over a decade. Clean and Healthy New York, along with hundreds of organizations across the country, will not rest until we achieve that goal.”

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