Toxics in Washington (D.C.)

We all deserve to live, work and play in healthy, safe environments. That’s why Oregon Environmental Council brings Oregonians together to reduce harmful chemicals in our air, water, food and in our homes and buildings. We promote policies to protect Oregonians from unnecessary toxics and unite health experts and caregivers to create safer places to learn and grow.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), one of the main federal laws that regulates chemical safety in the U.S., is woefully out of date. Created in 1976, TSCA desperately needs to be overhauled to reflect the latest health science and medical knowledge about chemicals that we come into contact with everyday.

In the absence of practical, protective policy at the national level, many states have decided to take action to protect people and the environment. Oregon is no exception. Oregon Environmental Council was instrumental in passing the Toxic Free Kids Act this year with bipartisan support–a law that will protect the youngest among us from toxic chemicals used in products like shampoo and clothing. In passing our law, we joined states like Washington, Minnesota and New York in passing stricter standards to protect our youngest residents.

At the federal level, in the last year or so both chambers of Congress have initiated an earnest effort to reform TSCA. Industry and trade associations are aggressively lobbying in both the Senate and House to push a bill through, and it looks like there’s a good chance that a modest reform of this important law may happen in 2015.

While it’s likely there will be some improvements to the current law, OEC still has concerns about how and when state laws would be preempted, as well as the ability for states to seek waivers in cases where they have more protective laws already on their books (like Oregon). Additionally, we’re concerned that the EPA will not have sufficient funding to carry out chemical safety assessments, and that the agency’s ability to regulate chemicals in imported products will be too limited.

To help ensure that our hard won protections for Oregonians stay in place and that we get the best, most protective law possible, OEC will continue to engage our congressional delegation, as well as playing an active role in national coalitions that are on the ground in Washington D.C.

Take Action with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families: click here!

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