We've been lied to and we've been fooled and it's time we do something about it!
For decades, we've relied on government agencies to fully test products and approve their safety. We never imagined the control corporation might have on pushing through some of those approvals. I'm not saying that's what happens, but it does make you wonder.
The facts are that there are more than 80,000 chemicals available in the U.S. that have never been fully tested for their toxic effects on the environment, not to mention what these chemicals can, and have, done to physically harm us. It's outrageous!
In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed, yet it have never been updated. What other major environmental law can make the claim that it's never been changed in nearly four decades?! This is a broken law, resulting in tens of thousands of potentially hazardous chemicals continuing to be used in the marketplace since the 70s without the appropriate testing and without disclosure by the companies that produce them. Are you angry yet?
The EPA cannot take the proper regulatory action against these chemicals, thanks to the TSCA, even the ones known to cause cancer or other serious health concerns. When TSCA became law in 1976, it was supposed to ensure the safety of chemicals from manufacture to use and disposal. But the EPA is basically impotent against the weaknesses in the law, unable to act on known health dangers or require testing on certain potentially unsafe chemicals. Other laws, such as those setting air, water, and workplace safety standards, do not adequately regulate exposure to most chemicals, nor do they address the hazards a chemical may pose over its lifecycle.
We need reform
The Toxic Substances Control Act needs to be reformed and legislation must be passed to protect the health of our families and the environment.
What does meaningful reform look like?
- Meaningful Chemical reform should protect the most vulnerable among us, including pregnant women, children, workers, and communities who are disproportionately exposed to chemicals.
- Meaningful Chemical reform should require public access to information regarding the safety of chemicals.
- Meaningful Chemical reform must respect the rights of states to protect their residents when the federal government fails to do so.
- Meaningful Chemical reform should require the Environmental Protection Agency to take fast action on the most harmful chemicals and include specific timetables for such regulatory actions.
Legislation to reform TSCA (the Chemical Safety Improvement Act -- (S.1009)) was recently introduced into the U.S. Senate. Sounds good, huh? Maybe not. Even though the bill has an impressive list of bi-partisan co-sponsors, it would be as ineffective as current law. And in some regards, even worse.
Under the current law, the EPA must prove a chemical poses an "unreasonable risk" to public health or the environment before it can be regulated. When the law first passed, it allowed 62,000 chemicals to remain on the market without testing. In more than 30 years, the EPA has required testing for only about 200 of those chemicals, and has partially regulated just five, leaving the rest to chance -- they've never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on our health or the health of the environment!
Since 1976, 22,000 new chemicals have been introduced and the manufacturers have provided little or no information to the EPA regarding their potential health or environmental impacts. These are the chemicals commonly found in your kids' toys and other kid-related products. They're also in cleaning and personal care items, furniture, electronics, food and beverage containers, building materials, fabrics, and car interiors. Nearly everywhere you look, nearly everywhere your children play and sleep and eat, there is an overwhelming chance for toxic exposure.
Scientists have linked exposure to toxic chemicals to many health risks. Even exposure to low doses of certain chemicals is recognized by the scientific community as a threat to our hormonal, reproductive, and immune systems, particularly when the exposure happens in the womb or during early childhood. Certain toxic chemicals can even remain in the environment for decades, building up in the food chain and in our bodies. Excuse my language, but this pisses me off. This exposure (for humans and animals) to toxic chemicals can lead to
- learning disabilities
- birth defects
- reproductive problems
I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to sit back and allow this to continue. Untested chemicals produce great risks to our health. I don't want my grandbabies exposed to this onslaught of toxic chemicals for the rest of their lives, so I'm going to do what I can to stop it. What about you?
Seventh Generation is working to push a reform on TSCA, which would require study, evaluation, and testing of all these chemicals. On my granddaughter's first birthday, April 30, 2014, they will be presenting a petition to congress. What they need in the meantime, however, is your signature.
Help me celebrate the marvelous little Miss Marley Grace's birthday by going to the website and signing the petition. Let's show Seventh Generation, congress, and the world, that the Green Grandma community cares about chemical safety reform, and we're willing to do something about it!
There is hope! But we must be diligent in order to produce the change we want for our children, their children, and our children's children's children! Sign the petition and help create a positive change for the future!
Caring about the environment, you and your children and mine,