Is someone or some agency making sure the chemicals we use are safe? In many instances, no. Thanks to heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) allowed thousands of untested chemicals to remain in consumer goods without any evidence of safety. The law is so weak that it even kept the EPA from being able to ban asbestos and other known hazardous materials.
Now, however, a bipartisan amendment to update and reform the TSCA is close to a vote in the U.S. Senate. The amendment, dubbed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, seeks to increase funding for the EPA, expedite action the EPA can take on chemicals such as asbestos that are known hazards, and make it easier for the EPA to evaluate other chemicals. These are all good changes.
Senate action is expected the week of October 19th. A bipartisan mix of 60 Senators now supports the bill which is expected to pass and be delivered to President Obama’s desk before the end of the year.