Policy & Legislation

Policy & Legislation

Toxic Chemicals have been found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, and in our body’s fat tissue, blood, and organs. Hundreds of chemicals in our air, water, soil and everyday products remain unregulated or inadequately tested for safety.  Making informed consumer decisions on an individual level can reduce your own exposure but cannot eliminate it entirely. We need larger measures to reduce the burden of toxins in our air and water on a statewide and national scale.

 

Massachusetts State Policy

Updated: August 2015 reflecting the Massachusetts House and Senate 2015 legislative session.

Federal Policy

Safe Chemicals Act

Chemical Safety Improvement Act – Bipartisan counterpart, or replacement, to the Safe Chemicals Act 

Personal Care Products Safety Act

Contacting Your Legislators

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Testimony

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition routinely provides testimony at hearings to advocate for changes to public policy to prevent the environmental causes of breast cancer.

 


Massachusetts State Policy

Updated: August 2015 reflecting the Massachusetts House and Senate 2015 legislative session.

Massachusetts 

Bill H.2119 189th (Current) 189th (2015-2016)

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H2119
An Act to prohibit the distribution in commerce of children’s products and upholstered furniture containing certain flame retardants, and for other purposes.

By Ms. Decker of Cambridge, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2119) of Marjorie C. Decker and others to prohibit the distribution in commerce of children’s products and upholstered furniture containing certain flame retardants, and for other purposes. Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Sponsors: Marjorie C. Decker
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

 

Amendment #1051 to H.3400 189th (2015-2016) Silent Spring Institute

Mr. Paul Frost of Auburn moves to amend the bill by adding the following new section: “SECTION XX: Silent Spring Institute shall be expended $254,000 for water quality research to detect hormone disrupters, carcinogens, and other water contaminants across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, subject to the appropriation of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.”

Additional Co-Sponsors include Timothy R. Madden, Jonathan Hecht, David T. Viera, and William M. Straus.

 

Consolidated Amendment “B” to H.3400  189th (2015-2016) Energy and Environmental Affairs

Amendment #1071 to H.3400  189th (2015-2016) Silent Spring Institute
Mr. Paul Frost of Auburn moves to amend the bill by adding the following new section:“SECTION XX. Silent Spring Institute shall be expended $254,000 for water quality research to detect hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and other water contaminants across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, subject to the appropriation of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.”
Additional Co-Sponsors include: Timothy R. Madden, Jonathan Hecht, David T. Viera, and William M. Straus.

Safer Alternatives

Bill S.1132 189th (2015-2016) An Act to Protect Children and Families from Harmful Flame Retardants 

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S1132

By Ms. Creem, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1132) of Cynthia S. Creem, Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Jay R. Kaufman, Chris Walsh and other members of the General Court for legislation to protect children and families from harmful flame retardants. Public Health.

Sponsors: Cynthia S. Creem
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health

 

Petitioners: Cynthia S. Creem, Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Jay R. Kaufman, Chris Walsh, Denise Provost, Barbara L’Italien, Frank I. Smizik, Michelle M. DuBois, David Paul Linsky, Marjorie C. Decker, Kenneth J. Donnelly, Ruth B. Balser, Carolyn C. Dykema, Louis L. Kafka, David M. Rogers, Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., James B. Eldridge, Jason M. Lewis, Michael J. Barrett, Christine P. Barber, James R. Miceli, Kay Khan, Paul A. Schmid, III, Brian M. Ashe, Benjamin Swan, Sal N. DiDomenico, Daniel J. Ryan

 

Bill H.696189th (2015-2016) An Act for Healthy Families and Businesses

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H696

By Representative Kaufman of Lexington and Senator Donnelly, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 696) of Jay R. Kaufman, Kenneth J. Donnelly and others for legislation to establish a process to identify toxic chemical substances used in consumer products. Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Sponsors: Jay R. Kaufman and Kenneth J. Donnelly
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

 

Petitioners: Jay R. Kaufman, Kenneth J. Donnelly, Timothy R. Madden, Brian M. Ashe, Benjamin Swan, Michael J. Barrett, Jennifer E. Benson, Michael O. Moore, Marjorie C. Decker, David Paul Linsky, Paul McMurtry, Denise Provost, Ruth B. Balser, Jason M. Lewis, Ellen Story, Carolyn C. Dykema, James B. Eldridge, David M. Rogers, Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., Alice Hanlon Peisch, Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Tom Sannicandro, Tackey Chan, Lori A. Ehrlich, Denise C. Garlick, Kay Khan, Frank I. Smizik, Jonathan Hecht, Brian A. Joyce, Louis L. Kafka, Paul A. Schmid, III, Mary S. Keefe, Chris Walsh, Daniel J. Ryan, Gailanne M. Cariddi, Sal N. DiDomenic

Bill S.397189th (2015-2016) An Act Relative to Healthy Families and Businesses

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S397

By Mr. Donnelly, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 397) of Kenneth J. Donnelly, Jay R. Kaufman, Timothy R. Madden, Denise Provost and other members of the General Court for legislation relative to healthy families and businesses. Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Sponsors:
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

 

Petitioners: Kenneth J. Donnelly, Jay R. Kaufman, Timothy R. Madden, Denise Provost, Carolyn C. Dykema, Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., James B. Eldridge, Jason M. Lewis, Michelle M. DuBois, Cynthia S. Creem, James R. Miceli, Paul A. Schmid, III, Brian M. Ashe, Mary S. Keefe, Benjamin Swan, Sal N. DiDomenico, Daniel J. Ryan, Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., Kay Khan

Click Here for Help Contacting Your Legislators

Federal Policy

CapitolSupporting federal policy is a great way to work towards country-wide breast cancer prevention.  We have too many large-scale risks in the United States in terms of daily chemical exposure.  These proposed bills would help reduce exposure to toxins in what we eat, drink, breathe, and touch.

S.697 – Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is a bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (of 1976) to reauthorize and modernize that Act, and for other purposes. The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition did not support this version of the bill as it was not comprehensive enough to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals of concern. 

 

Sponsor: Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) Introduced 3/10/15

Latest Action:  06/18/2015  Senator Inhofe from Committee on Environment and Public Works filed written report. Report No. 114-67. Minority views filed.
Read more on the Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/697/all-info

What is it?

In May 2011 MBCC traveled to Capitol Hill to discuss with Senators and their staff MBCC’s support to pass the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.  On July 25th 2012, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted on it favorably, making this the first time in over three decades a senate panel voted to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).  The bill was then sent to the full senate for a vote and died with the end of the 2012-2013 legislative session.

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA) was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (1924 – 2013) of New Jersey  along with Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana in May of 2013. It is the bipartisan counterpart, or replacement, to the Safe Chemicals Act but it did not include the same level of protection and was a step in the wrong direction. This seemingly tripartite effort of Republicans, Democrats, and the American Chemistry Council failed to correct many existing flaws of TSCA.

S.697 will only require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start review of 25 chemicals within 5 years and allows the agency at least 7 years (yes, seven years) to review each chemical. However, the EPA estimates that there are over 1,000 chemicals that need immediate review. How many more generations will be negatively affected by potentially harmful chemicals if this bill is enacted?

MBCC once again asks isn’t it better to be safe and restrict potentially harmful chemicals now, than be sorry once their burden and impact takes hold of another generation?

No more “safe until proven toxic” chemical policy – we need to take action to prevent breast cancer before they start!

For more information about the Chemicals Safety Improvement Act and the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s advocacy efforts, please visit:

What can it do to prevent breast cancer?

CSIA lacks key measures to ensure that the new chemical management policy is effective at protecting the public from exposure to chemicals of concern:

  1. It does not specifically include verbiage to address the protection of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children, workers, and environmental justice communities.
  2. A broad and vaguely written state pre-emption clause could have a potentially devastating impact on state-based chemical policies such as the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act and California’s Proposition 65.
  3. The bill does not include a hazard-based section giving the EPA ability to act quickly on the worst chemicals such as those that are persistent and bioaccumulative.
  4. Unlike the Safe Chemicals Act, CSIA does not set deadlines for required action, creating the possibility of stalemates on chemical regulation or restriction.
  5. Chemicals would be categorized as high or low priority, but the criteria for listing chemicals as “low priority” is vague. This generates concern that the EPA will be overwhelmed with recommendations for chemicals to be listed as “low priority” without sharing enough health and safety information about the impacts of exposure.

Click Here for Help Contacting Your Legislators

Click here for the Let’s Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures Brochure

S.725 – Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act

A bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Introduced 3/12/15.  Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) Original Co-sponsor introduced
Latest Action: 03/12/2015 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Read More on the Toxic Chemical Protection Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/725/all-info#cosponsors

 

S.1014 – Personal Care Products Safety Act

To amend title VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safe use of cosmetics, and for other purposes (H.R.2359)

Sponsor: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Introduced 4/20/15

Latest Action: 04/20/15 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Read More on the Personal Care Products Safety Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1014      

What is it?

Cosmetics

This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of a cosmetic’s ingredients. Companies must pay a facility registration fee based on their annual gross sales of cosmetics. The collected fees can only be used for cosmetic safety activities.

If the FDA determines that a cosmetic has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences, it may prohibit the cosmetic’s distribution by suspending the cosmetic ingredient statement. If other cosmetics from the same facility may be affected, the FDA may prohibit distribution from the facility by suspending the facility’s registration.
The FDA must review the safety of at least five cosmetic ingredients each year, and it may establish conditions for safe use of an ingredient, including a limit on the amount of the ingredient or a requirement for a warning label. A cosmetic cannot be sold if it contains an ingredient that is not safe, not safe under the recommended conditions of use, or not safe in the amount present in the cosmetic. Cosmetics companies are required to report to the FDA any serious adverse health event associated with their cosmetics. The FDA must:

 

  • Develop and implement cosmetic manufacturing standards that are consistent with existing national and international standards.
  • Inspect a company’s cosmetic safety records.
  • Recall a cosmetic that is likely to cause serious adverse health consequences.
  • Encourage cosmetic safety testing practices that minimize the use of animals.

Click here for a fact sheet about exposure from cosmetics products

What can it do to prevent breast cancer?

Many chemical ingredients found in cosmetics products are endocrine disruptors linked to breast cancer. Currently the FDA has no authority to require safety testing of cosmetics ingredients or require that companies list all ingredients on the label.  Did you know the ingredient ‘fragrance’ can include hundreds of unnamed and untested chemicals?  Right now, all regulation is conducted by the Cosmetics Industry Review (CIR) panel run by the cosmetics industry’s trade association.  Essentially, the industry is policing itself.  We must stop this ‘safe until proven otherwise’ cosmetics policy.

Click Here for Help Contacting Your Legislators

Contacting Your Legislators

Now is a crucial moment to contact your legislators, here are a few pointers:

  1. Pick one or two bills you are passionate about.
  2. Find out which of your legislators sponsored, co-sponsored, and supported the bill in the past. The sponsors and co-sponsors for the 2015 legislative session are listed in the description of the bill. Use the links below to find their contact information.
    • For Massachusetts state policy, click here and type in your zip code to find your legislator’s contact information
    • For federal state policy, click here to contact your senators AND click here to contact your representatives
  3. Write letters or emails to those legislators thanking them for their past support.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Testimony

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition provides testimony at hearings to advocate for changes to public policy to prevent the environmental causes of breast cancer. To read and download the full testimony, please click on the hearing name. 

July 28, 2015 S.1132 Hearing: Testimony by Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Board President Margo Simon Golden. An Act to protect children and families from harmful flame retardants. Filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem

 June 18, 2015 H2119 Hearing: Testimony by Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Board President Margo Simon Golden