The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) hasn't been significantly updated since it was enacted 40 years ago. This outdated law allows companies to discharge harmful chemicals into our land, air, and water. More than 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. were never tested to find whether or not they are harmful to our health or our environment. Over 22,000 chemicals, the majority of which haven't even been tested for safety, have entered the marketplace since the TSCA became law. In 40 years, the TSCA has only been successful in banning a handful of toxic chemicals. The TSCA makes it nearly impossible for the EPA to protect us against harmful chemicals, even ones that cause cancer, Parkinson's, and other serious illnesses.
We finally have a chance to update these laws to better protect ourselves. Bills S. 697 and H.B. 2576 have been introduced to finally update the TSCA.
Thankfully, current language of the bills allows the EPA to take action on chemicals they find put citizens and the environment at risk. Unfortunately, chemical lobbyists have succeeded in inserting language to make it more difficult for the EPA to restrict chemicals in imported products. They also succeeded in adding language that prohibits states from protecting its citizens from any chemical that the EPA is evaluating, a process that can take years.
We need to contact our members of Congress and ask that the final bills require new and existing chemicals to be tested for safety by in vitro testing methods; remove any legal barriers that prevent the EPA from restricting dangerous chemicals; allow states to pass laws that exceed federal protections; allow the EPA to expedite action on persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals; and allow the EPA to protect us from chemicals in imported products.
William holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. He is a delegate of the State Central Committee of the Michigan Democratic Party.