Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
Today is a big day in building momentum towards achieving fundamental reform of our nation’s policies intended to ensure the safety of the chemicals we use and to which we are exposed every day.
Here’s a sample of what's going on:
- The Senate Environment & Publics Work Committee is holding an Oversight Hearing on the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act(TSCA) this afternoon. Scheduled to testify are three witnesses from key agencies:
- The Honorable Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- John B. Stephenson, Director of Natural Resources & Environment for the U.S. Government Accountability Office
- Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program
All three witnesses are expected to press for prompt and comprehensive reform of TSCA.
- Thirteen states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — are releasing their own set of principles for TSCA reform, which call for a sweeping overhaul of the law. Ted Sturdevant, Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology, noted: “We need a federal law that prevents contamination from happening in the first place, and phases out the harmful chemicals that are already in widespread use. That’s common sense, but it’s not the system we have today.”
- HealthyStuff.org has released its latest findings from its ongoing testing of consumer products for toxic chemicals, this batch focused on toys apropos of the upcoming holiday season. This site is run by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor Michigan and the Center for Environmental Health, both founding members of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign.
- A new study by the Environmental Working Group identified more than 200 toxic chemicals present in umbilical cord blood of ten African American, Asian and Hispanic newborns. Among the chemicals found are the plastic component bisphenol A (BPA), the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) used in electronics, the synthetic fragrances galaxolide and tonalide used in many cosmetics and detergents, and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA, or C4), a member of the family of chemicals used to make non-stick and grease-, stain- and water-resistant coatings for cookware, textiles, food packaging and other products.
Quite a day!