TSCA Update

IMG_8910TSCA: You may recognize the acronym used to describe the legislation designed to protect the American people from toxic chemicals, but you may not completely understand its purpose, or what has been accomplished since it was passed in 1976. The Toxic Substances Control Act, better known as TSCA (pronounced tosca), was created to regulate chemicals used in production. Thirty-nine years later, we see that TSCA is inherently flawed; with just a small percentage of the chemicals on the TSCA inventory list including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens tested for safety.

Last week, two reform bills were introduced. Between the industry-backed Vitter-Udall bill and the Boxer-Markey bill, as several breast cancer organizations concur, there appears to be  one clear winner that considers America’s health as top priority. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are supported by public health and environmental groups in proposing legislation that requires chemicals in consumer products to demonstrate “reasonable certainty of no harm,” This would provide a standard that acts in favor of protecting vulnerable populations from exposure to harmful chemicals.

Since TSCA reform has lagged, states have taken matters into their own hands by formulating regulations to keep their citizens safe. Although the Vitter-Udall bill pushes for the regulation of multitudes of harmful chemicals, it purposefully bans states from making further regulations based on the assessment of whether or not the current standards entail the highest level of safety. In addition, the bill allows a grace period of seven years for the EPA to administer safety tests of chemicals in question, in addition to an unlimited amount of time for regulations to be put in place. It has been suggested that the Vitter-Udall proposed legislation has major flaws and would only change the language of TSCA rather than create a much needed change in toxic substances regulation.

We have the power to choose what we put in our bodies. If we are unknowingly exposed to unregulated chemicals that pose health threats to ourselves and our loved ones, how are we supposed to play a hand in the future of our own health? Although Protect Our Breasts’ mission is to share the conversation about toxins in everyday products that contribute to breast cancer, we hope that one day we will no longer have to discuss the effects of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. One day prevention will be held as a high priority, and legislation will be passed to protect us from harmful substances in our products and the environment.

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