Responding to mounting consumer concern and what Sustainable Business described as â€œCongressional inaction,â€ legislators from 30 states and the District of Columbia just announced legislation to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals, including <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">Bisphenol-A (BPA).
Although industry has funded heavy opposition, 18 state legislatures passed 71 chemical safety laws since 2008 with â€œoverwhelming, bipartisan margin,â€ wrote Sustainable Business. More passages are expected in 2011.
“With over half of state legislatures introducing policies that protect kids and families from toxic chemicals, Congress and chemical industry lobbyists should take notice. As long as toxic chemicals such as cadmium and BPA remain in consumer products, states will continue to pass commonsense policies to address this serious public health threat” said Laurie Valeriano, Policy Director at the Washington Toxics Coalition in Seattle, Washington, quoted Sustainable Business.
The Coalition pointed out that chronic diseases associated with exposure to toxic chemicalsâ€”cancer, asthma, and infertility, to name a fewâ€”prompted state capitols to institute policies removing these chemicals from the market. Bills are being considered in 30 states for the following:
â€¢ BPA and hazardous flame retardant bans in consumer products, said Sustainable Business. BPA, or bisphenol A, is a toxic polycarbonate plastic chemical that has been linked to a growing array of adverse reactions.
â€¢ Mandates that only the safest chemicals be used in products geared to children.
â€¢ Resolutions urging Congress to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), said Sustainable Business, which explained that this federal law enables consumer use of products made with dangerous, untested chemicals.
“A substantial body of scientific research shows that the public is exposed to chemicals that increase the risk of serious health threats, including cancer, asthma, infertility, and learning and developmental disabilities,” said Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, quoted Sustainable Business. “For most chemicals, no Government agency has the authority to require safety testing before they are put into widespread use. It’s an uncontrolled experiment, and individuals and families across the country are paying the price,” added Dr. Schettler.
Despite tremendous public support for increased regulation concerning toxic chemicals, Congress has acted on the side of industry and also has not passed TSCA reform legislation three times in the last six years. Of note, TSCA reform bills expected to be introduced this year, said Sustainable Business.
“The American public is demanding new chemical safety laws, and state elected officials–both Republicans and Democrats–are responding,” said Andy Igrejas, Campaign Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, quoted Sustainable Business. “At some point, Congress will wake up and realize it is better for industry and public safety to make these changes at the federal level, as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, policies under consideration this year in the state legislatures include comprehensive laws in nine states to change chemical regulation at the state level; BPA phase-outs in at least 17 states and Deca BDE (a toxic flame retardant) phase-outs in at least three states; updated state TSCA resolutions; cadmium bans in childrenâ€™s products in eight states; and chemical safety legislation in South Dakota, said Sustainable Business.