ACAT is a member of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a nationwide effort to adopt smart federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals. The coalition believes that, by reforming the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, improve our nation’s health and lower the cost of health care. The coalition maintains that any effective reform of TSCA should:
- Immediately Initiate Action on the Worst Chemicals: Persistent, bioaccumulative toxicants (PBTs) are uniquely hazardous. Any such chemical to which people could be exposed should be phased out of commerce. Exposure to other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that have already been extensively studied, should be reduced to the maximum extent feasible. Learn more: Mind the Store chemicals of high concern, The Hazardous 100+ List of Chemicals of High Concern
- Protect the Most Vulnerable: Chemicals should be assessed against a health standard that explicitly requires protection of the most vulnerable people, including children, workers, pregnant women, the elderly, and chronically ill.
- Ensure Environmental Justice: Effective reform should contribute substantially to reducing the disproportionate burden of toxic chemical exposure placed on people of color, low-income people and Indigenous communities.
- Require Basic Information for All Chemicals: Manufacturers should be required to provide basic information on the health hazards associated with their chemicals, how they are used, and the ways that the public or workers could be exposed. Learn more: resources for retailers.
- Use the Best Science and Methods: The National Academy of Sciences’ recommendations for reforming risk assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be adopted. Regulators should expand development and use of information gleaned from “biomonitoring,” the science of detecting human chemical contamination, to inform and impel efforts to reduce these exposures.
- Hold Industry Responsible for Demonstrating Chemical Safety: Unlike pharmaceuticals, chemicals are currently presumed safe until proven harmful. The burden of proving harm falls entirely on the EPA. Instead, chemical manufacturers should be responsible for demonstrating the safety of their products.
- Enhance Government Coordination: The EPA should work effectively with other agencies, such as FDA, that have jurisdiction over some chemical exposures. The ability of the states to enact tougher chemical policies should be maintained and state/federal cooperation on chemical safety encouraged.
- Promote Safer Alternatives: There should be national support for basic and applied research into green chemistry and engineering, and policy should favor chemicals and products that are shown to be benign over those with potential health hazards.
- Ensure the Right to Know: The public, workers, and the marketplace should have full access to information about the health and environmental hazards of chemicals and the way in which government safety decisions are made.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families represents more than 11 million individuals and includes parents, health professionals, advocates for people with learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesses from across the nation. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition members are united by their common concern about toxic chemicals in our homes, places of work, and products we use every day. Learn more about Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.