What is TSCA?
TSCA stands for the Toxic Substances Control Act which was passed in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. TSCA is the main national law that regulates chemicals, aside from food, drugs and cosmetics (regulated by the FDA) and FIFRA, which regulates pesticides. An overhaul to the outdated and failed system is being pushed for by CHNY and our allies in New York and across the nation.
TSCA is failing in its current form
Chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of food and toys are not regulated for safety, even though many consumers assume otherwise.
Chemical manufacturers are not required to report all chemical ingredients. According to the EPA, 20% of all chemical ingredients are unknown. This is an underestimate when it comes to consumer access to this information.
The current law puts responsiblity on government shoulders for reporting chemical safety issues rather than requiring manufacturers to conduct safety tests.
In 1989 the EPA tried to ban asbestos after providing a large amount of evidence of the toxicity and danger of the substance. They attempted to use TSCA to assert their findings. TSCA was not strong enough and the lost because of it. The EPA has not attempted to use TSCA since.
TSCA has done little to nothing to advocate for changes in product design to require non toxic products be available for consumers.
Changes in the Works
The time has never been better to reform TSCA. Nearly all Congressmen agree that the national chemical safety law needs to be upgraded. Here is a list of the changes and progress we have seen so far.
1. The Safe Chemicals Act was introduced by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 28 co-sponsors in April of 2013. The bill sought to implement required safety testing for chemicals be used in consumer goods.
2. Then, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act was introduced in May of 2013 by Senator Lautenberg and Senator David Vitter (R-LA). It has 22 co-sponsors. Unfortunately, this attempt at bipartisanship failed to include vital improvements, including attention to hot spots, environmental injustices, vulnerable populations, states rights, and more.
3. Growing demand for chemical free products and increasing state action has led the call to update and upgrade current federal standards by a diverse coalition, which does not accept the current Chemical Safety Improvement Act as sufficient to meet the needs of a public plagued by health problems science has connected with toxic chemicals.
4. The U.S. House of Representatives has crafted a "Chemicals in Commerce Act" that is completely insufficient to address the problems of widespread use of toxic chemicals, and further would eliminate the ability for states to act on their own behalf.
You can learn more about the national coalition Clean and Healthy New YOrk helps steer to win strong federal chemical policy reform by visiting Safer Chemicals Healthy Family's website.