Congress, Chemicals and Commerce


We all tend to heed EPA warnings about toxic chemicals in everyday products; after all, it’s the agency's job to regulate what is safe and what is not, right? Well, it’s not quite so simple. EPA Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), 

Jim Jones recently commented that he thinks there are currently 1,000 chemicals in our everyday products that are potentially unsafe. Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber comments on why this may be the case. Though, the EPA enforces and administers the law, it is still Congress that makes the laws. Currently, according to Faber, House republicans are backing a bill that would continue to give liberties to big chemical companies at the expense of consumer safety. He writes:

Under the proposal developed by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), EPA would only be able to restrict chemicals so that they pose no “unreasonable” risks.

In other words, we would have to tolerate chemicals that can harm us so long as chemical companies can convince the EPA – and ultimately the courts – that their toll on health and the environment is justified.”

Faber goes on to explain a few more scary provisions of the “Chemical Commerce Act” including the allowance of new untested chemicals into the marketplace and no requirements on the behalf of chemical companies to disclose the names of their chemicals that are being tested.


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