To the Florida Congressional Delegation:
As Florida health care professionals and concerned citizens, we urge you to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S 847), introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D- NJ). The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would protect families and communities by requiring the chemical industry to ensure chemicals are safe before they end up in the marketplace and in our homes, schools, and places of business. We urge you to co-sponsor this bill and see it through the Senate and into the House as soon as possible.
Currently, chemicals in commerce are regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a law passed in 1976 that is out of date, badly broken and has failed to protect public health and the environment. TSCA allows toxic chemicals to be used in everyday consumer products without first being tested for safety. Published studies in peer-reviewed journals have shown many common chemicals can cause chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning and behavioral disorders. As testing procedures are now more sophisticated, we are learning that harm can occur at lower and lower doses, particularly to vulnerable populations like pregnant women, newborns and children.
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would ensure that the EPA has a minimum safety data set on the health risks of all chemicals, and authority to require any data beyond the minimum data set needed to determine safety of a chemical. The bill has several provisions to ensure that no duplicative or unnecessary testing occurs and that EPA accepts and encourages the use of rapid, low-cost, non-animal tests that provide high quality data.
The legislation requires the EPA to prioritize chemicals based on risk, focusing resources on the chemicals most likely to cause harm. Expidited action to reduce exposures would then reduce risk from chemicals of highest concern. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals for which there is the potential for widespread exposure will be placed into the category of chemicals requiring immediate risk management. EPA must then impose conditions that will immediately reduce exposure.
Passage of the Safe Chemical’s Act would provide EPA with the authority it needs to protect public health and the environment and would go a long way in restoring consumer confidence. It would help level the playing field for American manufactures in a global economy that is demanding safer products. Many American companies have been hindered in their efforts to meet the growing demand for safer products and materials because they often lack information on the chemicals in their supply chain. The Safe Chemicals Act would lift the veil of secrecy and provide reliable safety information to domestic product manufacturers and retailers for the first time; so that the public can rest assured that their safety is a top priority.
Children and families across Florida and throughout the country are being exposed to chemicals found in everyday products and are asking for your leadership. There is strong support for these provisions and improvements. Please co sponsor the bill and help protect the health of the public, the environment and our local economies. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. We look forward to working with you, to ensure meaningful reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
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