Safe Chemicals Act passes committee and moves to Senate floor
Michigan coalition calls on Senators Levin and Stabenow to support the bill.
In a historic act today, Congress voted to update the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act, for the first time in 36 years. The vote comes in the wake of growing public concern about the health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals. Voted out of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning, Senator Frank Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act (S.847), now moves to the Senate floor.
Public health advocates with the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health applauded the committee vote.
“Today’s vote is truly historic,” said Rebecca Meuninck, environmental health campaign director for the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health (MNCEH). “Now that the Safe Chemicals Act is headed to the Senate floor we hope that Senators Stabenow and Levin will express their support for the bill.”
The Safe Chemicals Act enjoys a broad base of support from organizations across the state. The health professional, health-affected, environmental, and faith-based organizations that make up the MNCEH have been calling for better chemicals policies at the state and federal level for many years. Earlier this year the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers joined national Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition in support of reform such as the Safe Chemicals Act.
This issue has strong public resonance as well. In a recent public opinion poll, 66 percent of Michigan voters indicated their support for stricter regulation of chemicals found in everyday products. There was even stronger support, 74 percent, for provisions that would require chemicals manufacturers to demonstrate that their chemicals are safe in order to sell them, and for the Environmental Protection Agency to be able to limit some or all uses of a chemical that may harm the public health or the environment.
“We believe that the Safe Chemicals Act will better protect children's health and the environment while providing real benefits to business and increasing American competitiveness," said Jeff Gearhart, research director at HealthyStuff.org.
The Safe Chemicals Act would shift the burden of demonstrating chemical safety by requiring chemical manufacturers to develop and submit health and safety data for their chemicals. Under existing law the Environmental Protection Agency can only require safety testing after evidence of a chemical’s hazardous toxicity has been demonstrated.