You may have noticed the hashtag that keeps popping up wherever there’s discussion about overhauling our national chemical safety law. #RealReform. Compared with the long-lived fight to fix the broken Toxic Substances Control Act, #RealReform is pretty new to the scene. That’s because we’ve spent over a decade getting Congress to pay attention to the need for a system that actually keeps Americans safe from exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products.
To help get TSCA reform on the Congressional agenda, states from Maine all the way to Washington have spent over a decade passing their own chemical safety measures, creating a patchwork quilt of regulation blanketing the nation that has driven the chemical industry to the negotiating table with health advocates like us. Now, the chemical industry wants something that we want – a national chemical safety system that works.
Reforming TSCA is now inevitable: right now there are two versions of chemical safety reform bills before Congress, the Senate Chemicals in Commerce Act and the House’s TSCA Modernization Act of 2015. But both bills started out looking mostly like wish lists from the giant chemical industry, creating even greater hurdles for protecting public health than the existing broken law. Patient negotiations have improved these bills bit by bit, bringing them closer to, but still not quite yet… you guessed it… #RealReform.
What’s this hashtag all about?
#RealReform means a law that protects vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women and communities that are exposed more often to toxic chemicals. #RealReform means expedited action on the worst of the worst chemicals, like PBT’s – Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins, the chemicals that remain in our bodies and in the environment a long time and continue to do harm for generations. #RealReform means ensuring that the US EPA has the authority and the resources to actually make products safer, and making sure that states like Maine still have the ability to protect their own citizens too.
We can’t have chemical safety without safer products. Until then, help us spread our favorite hashtag: #RealReform