House Chemical Bill Fails to Protect Public from Toxic Chemicals

On February 27th Representative Shimkus (R-IL) unveiled the Chemicals in Commerce Act as a “discussion draft” to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This is the latest step in debates over reforming TSCA, which has not been updated since it was passed in 1976.

MBCC is a longtime active member of the coalition, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, and agrees with their expert analysis of this bill. Unfortunately, this effort (fueled by the interests of the chemical industry) fails to better protect public health from the multitude of common chemical exposures we face today. Andy Igrejas, the Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, states:

“This bill would do nothing whatsoever to protect the public from the health impacts of toxic chemicals and would instead roll back the very limited oversight that we currently have. It lacks credibility except as a political statement for corporate supporters in an election year. Anyone who cares about the health impacts of chemicals on American families will forcefully oppose this legislation. The draft ignores nearly every recommendation for reform made by health professionals, environmental experts, and advocates for families dealing with cancer, autism, infertility and other health problems linked to chemical exposure, but it adopts the wish list of oil and chemical companies like Dow and ExxonMobil.” 

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families notes the following problems with the Chemicals in Commerce Act:

  • Annul laws in Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, California, Minnesota and several other states that provide most of the information on toxic chemicals in consumer products.
  • Continue the legal standard and other hurdles in current TSCA that prevented EPA from taking action on asbestos.  
  • Make it nearly impossible for EPA to require health information for new chemicals before they end up on the market and in the products we bring into our homes. (This is one of the few areas where EPA currently has some authority.)
  • Significantly roll back EPA’s authority to restrict the use of existing toxic chemicals in products.
  • Contradict the recommendations of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Pediatrics for how chemical safety should be reviewed.
  • Require EPA to weigh the economic benefits of a chemical- like whether it leaves streaks on your windows- against whether it causes birth defects, cancer, autism, or infertility.


More Information

Health Watchdog Warns: Chemical “Reform” Bill Would Put Americans at Greater Risk from Harmful Chemicals, Center for Environmental Health

Hearing on “Chemicals in Commerce Act,” Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy


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