Breaking News: Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 Is Introduced | Seventh Generation
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Breaking News: Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 Is Introduced

Author: Inspired Protagonist

Safer Chemicals Healthy FamiliesApril 15th isn't usually a day revered by Americans. Many of us will spend today rushing to finalize tax forms and fighting the annual crowd at the post office. But this April 15th, we have a lot to celebrate. Today, legislation was introduced that will for the first time in more than 30 years, overhaul the way the federal government protects the public from toxic chemicals. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 was introduced in the United States Congress this afternoon by U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

"America's system for regulating industrial chemicals is broken," said Senator Lautenberg. "Parents are afraid because hundreds of untested chemicals are found in their children's bodies. EPA does not have the tools to act on dangerous chemicals and the chemical industry has asked for stronger laws so that their customers are assured their products are safe. My 'Safe Chemicals Act' will breathe new life into a long-dead statute by empowering EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals."

The "Safe Chemicals Act of 2010" requires safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and puts the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order stay on the market. As a company whose products have been built from the ground up to protect both the health of the planet as well as the people who use them, I am thrilled to finally see the introduction of legislation that would update our antiquated system of toxic chemical regulation. The Toxics Substance Control Act, which became law 34 years ago, was meant to give the Environmental Protection Agency the ability to identify and regulate dangerous chemicals in products that we use every day. However, of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in consumer products, the EPA has required testing of about only 200 and restricted the use of only 5 chemicals! The current law is widely regarded as being ineffective. With an increasing focus on toxic chemical exposure in humans, and a new report showing newborn babies with traces of 287 toxic chemicals in their blood at birth, the time for action is now.

This new legislation will go a long way towards bringing our failing chemical management system into the 21st Century. It puts our health first, provides better information to businesses, and helps the average consumer avoid toxic chemicals in the products that they buy. Although this legislation is not perfect, it contains many of the key provisions that we and our partners in the Safer Chemicals Health Families coalition have been working for. The coalition will be working hard to continue to strengthen the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

We understand that there is a business case for TSCA reform. Leading companies from electronics manufacturers to health care providers are highly motivated to identify and use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. Today's business leaders are concerned about the health and business impacts that could arise if the products they use or sell contain toxic chemicals. They recognize that safer chemicals protect human and environmental health and cut the costs of regulation, hazardous waste storage and disposal, worker protection, and future liabilities. Such steps also offer new business opportunities, by making U.S. businesses more competitive in a global marketplace and creating new jobs.

So, I encourage you to join us in pushing for this landmark legislation. Together we as consumers, businesses, environmentalists, and public health advocates can ensure the products we buy and sell are free of harmful toxic chemicals. Take action and send a message to Washington, DC to support reform of our outdated chemicals control policy, and please join the Million Baby Crawl to add your voice to a growing movement of people calling for safer chemicals and healthier families.


I am so thrilled to see this bill being introduced and cannot emphasis enough how important it will be to get organizations and consumers to really stand behind this if we want to see it signed into law. I actually cried over it because as an industry manicurist I became very medically ill from cumulative toxicity linked to toxic chemicals in cosmetics and other such products. Now I manufacturer safe skin care products for manicurist and consumers. The timing could not have been better for my company and Earth Week. Since my launch, I have been trying to engage consumers in using their voices if they want things to change. I have been spending time connecting with regulatory agencies, legislators and advocacy groups on the toxic chemicals issue. I am sponsoring a triclosan drop off in Minneapolis April 17-April 22 and using it to educate consumers about chemicals in everyday products. Now with the introduction of this bill I also drew up a petition and collected almost 100 signatures today from Minnesotans asking our Senators to co-sponsor this bill. What a great tie in and let me tell you, people who expressed disgust with the government for not protecting us could not sign this fast enough. I am hoping over the week to collect at least 500 signers to send off showing our support. lastly, I met someone before my launch last fall from Seventh Generation and was given a few boxes of sample products. I have been using Seventh Generation for years and am proud to also support them at all my events by providing their samples. Companies who share the same concerns, missions and customers also need to reach out to one another and support each other too- I believe it is vital in making sure change happens.
Rihana picture
Making industrial chemicals safer is something we can all get behind. If we want safer chemicals and a safer environment then we must use nonanimal methods of testing. Currently, many toxicity tests are based on experiments in animals and use methods that were developed as long ago as the 1930’s; they and are slow, inaccurate, open to uncertainty and manipulation, and do not adequately protect human health. These tests take anywhere from months to years, and tens of thousands to millions of dollars to perform. More importantly, the current testing paradigm has a poor record in predicting effects in humans and an even poorer record in leading to actual regulation of dangerous chemicals. The blueprint for development and implementation for nonanimal testing is the National Research Council report, "Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy in 2007." This report calls for a shift away from the use of animals in toxicity testing. The report also concludes that human cell- and computer-based approaches are the best way to protect human health because they allow us to understand more quickly and accurately the varied effects that chemicals can have on different groups of people. They are also more affordable and more humane. These methods are ideal for assessing the real world scenarios such as mixtures of chemicals, which have proven problematic using animal-based test methods. And, they're the only way we can assess all chemicals on the market.
earthspirit picture
Thanks for letting us know that this is finally happening, we'd been waiting a long time for this new bill. I was horrified to read analysis revealed that babies were born with 287 toxic chemicals in their blood, that is unthinkable and unacceptable. Sen. Lautenberg said that "America's sytem for regulating industrial chemicals is broken", something quite some of us have known for a long time, I'm aware of the fact that the EPA has only tested 200 out of 80,000 chemicals on the market. That is an absurd figure, and I've often wondered what was the EPA's use. But then the same Lautenberg proceeds to say that today, business leaders are concerned about the impacts their products could have ... if they contain toxic chemicals. That in itself is grossly contradicting what he says in his intro. Let's face it we woul not have had to push so hard for new regulations if the industry had cared so much about toxic chemicals. I say that based on results, most of them did NOT care at all, that is the reason why we are today where we are. Not only the industry did not care, neither did the succession of governments of the past 34 years. So please let's remain honest: we have reached this point because of gross negligence at gvt and industry level these past years. It's wonderful that things are finally changing, but let's face it, at this point if I represented the industry I'd be very concerned indeed, and would probably worry about future litigations which will affect the industry's profit margins. Aren't toxic chemicals that are allowed for public consumption just as bad as nicotine and other toxic substances in tobacco? And we know where that one lead to. I cannot help thinking about those families with their babies carrying 287 toxic chemicals in their blood and what that is going to lead to, aside from the suffering and pain.
SaferSamantha picture
Thanks for writing this blog about the release of the Safe Chemicals Act. As a consumer I am excited that a company like Seventh Gen is on board. I work with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign, is it possible for you to contact me and I can send you our updated Take Action badge? It would be awesome if it also linked to the action we have to congress to help support a strong SCA bill! Thanks so much! Samantha