The proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) before Congress would be the first significant overhaul of laws governing toxic chemicals in the environment in nearly 40 years. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation does not go far enough to protect consumers, and parts of it actually weaken existing regulations.
Environmental and health groups including Earthjustice, NRDC, the Environmental Working Group and the Breast Cancer Fund, oppose the CSIA since the bill:
- In essence assumes that all chemicals are “innocent until proven guilty.” Unlike European nations, which require that toxic chemicals be proven safe before they are allowed to be released into the air, water and soil, this bill would allow new chemicals to be manufactured and sold without any such proof.
- Does not require chemical companies to provide basic safety data on chemicals already on the market.
- Does not provide strict regulation for chemicals that remain in the environment or in our bodies for decades.
- Does not address specific harms to pregnant women and children.
- Does not provide stronger protections for communities located near chemical plants or other likely sources of toxins, like slag heaps from mining operations.
- Would “pre-empt” laws passed by states that impose stronger regulations on chemicals they believe are harming their citizens. An example of this would be California’s ban on BPA chemicals in baby bottles and sippy cups. This kind of local control of chemicals would be denied under the CSIA. The California AG has warned the CSIA could cripple that state’s efforts to protect its people.
Americans are being routinely exposed to untested and unregulated chemicals. Our exposure is pervasive and starts in the womb: the chemicals have been detected even in the bodies of newborn babies. We deserve a strong regulatory system that ensures that chemicals are safe before they are allowed into the marketplace.
Now is the time for us to contact your Congress members to tell them we need real reform of the laws governing toxic chemicals. To demand real reform, you may use this link provided by the EWG.