U.S. Senate Passes Major Overhaul of Chemical Controls

Oregon Environmental Council Urges Congress to Protect State Authority

PORTLAND, OR—JANUARY 18, 2015: On the evening of January 17, the Senate passed a bill to reform the way our nation regulates chemicals. It’s a long overdue milestone towards fixing the flawed 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that has denied people the health protections we deserve.

The vote is an encouraging sign that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are taking action to ensure that laws reflect 21st century science. However, as the lawmaking process continues, Oregon Environmental Council urges lawmakers to stand strong for public health protections and fix  significant flaws that would impede state ability carry out public health protections.
The bill  is a product of hard work by Senator Merkley and other champions to put  health before profit and account for the unique risks to children and other vulnerable populations. Oregon Environmental Council commends Senator Merkley for negotiating significant improvements to the original Senate bill under immense pressure from industry interests.
Now, as a process begins to reconcile the House and Senate bills, it will be all the more critical for our elected officials to stand strong for real reform that no longer allows industry to profit at the expense of public health. This must include holding ground on strong health protections while addressing remaining loopholes, including one that would curtail state power to protect public health.
For a decade, Congress has failed the public by ignoring a broken law. Meanwhile, states like Oregon have truly delivered progress on addressing toxics in consumer products and advancing safer alternatives.
“Look at the last decade of progress,” says Andrea Durbin. “Where has it come from? States like Oregon. The public will only lose if Congress compromises away state responsibility to protect public health.”
In 2015, Oregon passed one of the strongest laws in the nation to protect children from exposure to hazardous chemicals: The Toxic Free Kids Act.

 

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Contact: Jen Coleman, Health Outreach Director,
Oregon Environmental Council
503-222-1963 ext. 105 or jenc@oeconline.org

About Oregon Environmental Council
Oregon Environmental Council safeguards what Oregonians love about Oregon—clean air and water, an unpolluted landscape and healthy food produced by local farmers. For more than 45 years we’ve been a champion for solutions to protect the health of every Oregonian and the place we call home. Find out more at oeconline.org.

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