Ask Alaskan Senators to Protect our Health
Call Alaska’s Senators Begich and Murkowski and ask them to FIX the Chemical Safety Improvement Act
Senator Lisa Murkowski; DC Office:202-224-6665; Anchorage Office: 907-271-3735
Senator Mark Begich; DC Office: 202-224-3004; Anchorage Office: 907-271-5915
A sample message is below – please personalize it and tell your own story:
“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am a constituent from [City, State]. I’m calling to ask Senator [NAME] to FIX the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (S. 1009). This bill needs to be dramatically strengthened to fix current law and ensure that chemicals are safe for people. At the top of my list is the need to protect the most vulnerable populations (including pregnant women and young children) from exposure to toxic chemicals. I also believe in protecting the states’ rights to pass more protective laws if needed. This law should protect public health and not chemical industries. I really care about this issue, and I would like Senator [NAME] to support real chemical policy reform. Would you please pass my message on to the Senator? Thank you!”
Dear Alaskan Senators:
We appreciate that you joined the bi-partisan effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act by serving as co-sponsors of the new Chemical Safety Improvement Act introduced in May 2013.
We request your leadership in fixing this legislation in order to:
- ensure that chemicals are safe before they end up in our everyday products and
- increase access to basic safety and health information
Please ensure the following provisions are included in the new legislation:
- Protect Vulnerable Populations: the bill must explicitly require that safety determinations protect vulnerable populations most directly harmed by toxic chemicals – including pregnant women, children, workers, and “hot spots” communities- from those exposures.
- Preserve State Authority: federal law should not be allowed to override states authority to pass more protective laws if needed.
- Expedite Action on Worst Chemicals: ensure expedited action to restrict harmful chemicals, especially persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals and those known to be associated with cancer, neurodevelopmental problems, and reproductive harm.
- Establish Deadlines and Timetables: establish clear deadlines and a realistic implementation schedule that requires compliance and gives the EPA the necessary tools to implement the new law.
- Burden of Proof: the burden of proof for chemical safety must be placed squarely on the shoulders of industry rather than on the EPA and the public having to prove they are toxic.
- No Gag on Health Professionals: the CSIA includes a “gag rule” on medical professionals who receive information necessary to treat patients who may have been harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals. This restricts health care providers from carrying out their mission to “do no harm” and impairs their ability to protect members of the public from harmful exposure to toxic chemicals. We must ensure that health care professionals are not subject to a gag rule and that they have the best information possible to diagnose and treat their patients.
- Require Adequate Data to Prioritize Chemicals: Chemicals must have adequate data for evaluation before they are prioritized so as to provide the maximum protection for public health. The legislation should specify that a chemical should only be designated as “low” priority in the presence of information sufficient to demonstrate a low risk to human health and the environment.
This legislation is of particular concern to Alaskans because we receive a disproportionate exposure to chemicals transported into the north from more southern latitudes—persistent organic pollutants including “legacy” chemicals such as PCBs and DDT, as well as currently used pesticides and industrial chemicals. We also may be more highly exposed to chemicals in products because our homes are more insulated and closed in for a greater part of the year. This is a crucial public health issue for Alaskans!
Thank you for your careful consideration of this important bill.
Or, contact your representatives in Congress via the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families website.
Visit the Chicago Tribune’s Watchdog Investigative Series Playing with Fire to learn more about toxic chemical flame retardants in our daily lives.
See our Toxic Substance Control Act Issues page for some startling health issues Alaskan’s face, with links to their scientific sources. Although we do not know the correlation between each of these issues, the reality is, Alaskans are facing environmental exposure to chemicals which are not even manufactured in Alaska. The way that the law stands now, it is up to us to prove that each individual chemical (of over 80,000 chemicals) causes us harm.
It is time to turn the tables and require companies to prove the safety of a chemical before it’s manufacture.
Additional information and resources are available:
- Safer Homes Healthy Families Legislative Update
- National Safer Chemicals Platform
- Show your support for the Safe Chemicals Act!
- Fact Sheet: Protect Public Health AK Legislative Efforts in 2012 “Flame Retardants and Toxic Chemicals”