Congress Must Reform Ineffective 33-year-old Chemicals Law, Expert Testifies
WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congress urgently needs to reform the nation's main chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, because it has failed to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of chemicals in commercial use and development. That is the conclusion of expert testimony provided at a hearing held today in the U.S. House of Representatives by a scientist who recently advised the toxics office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"It doesn't take a scientist to realize that the Toxic Substances Control Act is badly broken," said Dr. Richard A. Denison, a senior scientist at Environmental Defense Fund and former member of the EPA's National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee (NPPTAC). "The now-daily barrage of headlines about the dangers posed by yet another chemical used in common consumer products - like the toxic flame retardants used in furniture that virtually all Americans now carry in their bodies - is a direct manifestation of the utter failure of our current chemicals policy."
Denison testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Other organizations testifying in support of major TSCA reform include the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the United Steelworkers and WE ACT for Environmental Justice (West Harlem Environmental Action).
"Congress needs to act now, lest the United States risk falling further behind the rest of the developed world, which has already taken steps to ensure the safety of the chemicals and chemical products we make and use every day," noted Denison. "Without prompt action, we also risk becoming a dumping ground for unsafe products produced elsewhere in the world."
Citing EPA's inability to use TSCA to restrict even highly dangerous chemicals such as asbestos and formaldehyde, Denison's testimony enumerated the law's key structural flaws, including that it:
"Our outmoded policy is directly responsible for perpetuating a chemicals economy that is dysfunctional, ill-informed and unable to distinguish a dangerous chemical from a safe one," concluded Denison. "A top-to-bottom overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act is essential to establish a market that is driven by knowledge rather than ignorance and uncertainty, and that rewards innovation toward safer chemicals and products."
Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.
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|SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund|
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