Why passage of the Lautenberg Act is a really big deal

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Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report, 111 DEN B-1, 6/9/16, 06/09/2016. Copyright © 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http:// www.bna.com

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CONGRESS

Now that TSCA reform has passed despite a polarized Congress, many are wondering how it came about. Richard Denison at the Environmental Defense Fund has been engaged for many years on toxics legislative reform and explores the critical junctures that opened up the opportunity to update this major environmental legislation despite multiple obstacles.   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

Congress passes strong TSCA reform, first major environmental legislation in over two decades

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

Today, the truly remarkable happened:  The U.S. Senate passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act with strong bipartisan support and sent it to the President, who is expected to sign it into law.  The bill came to the Senate floor tonight by unanimous consent and passed on a voice vote.  Senate passage follows the House’s passage of the same bill by a margin of 403-12 on May 24.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.  There were many false starts and blind alleys along the way, and more twists and turns than the Steel Dragon 2000.  It took years of work by many Members and their incredibly dedicated staff to reach this accomplishment.

From the outset, it seemed that this effort would succeed only by finding a bipartisan path forward, and then working to both move and improve the bill.  For EDF, that strategy seemed essential to building both the support and the momentum needed to get a bill of this magnitude to the President’s desk and signed into law.  The late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the bill’s namesake, started us down this path:  He had the political courage to reach across the aisle and the foresight to envision getting to this moment.   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Read 6 Responses

EPA tells Rep. Israel a Household Action Level for lead in drinking water will come “later this year”

Tom Neltner, J.D.is Chemicals Policy Director

In early 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first committed to developing a level that would provide context for those trying to assess an infants’ risk from lead in their drinking water.

An infant’s developing brain is extremely vulnerable to lead. Many parents rely on formula made from drinking water to feed their children. So if that water contains lead, the child is likely to be harmed.

A “Household Action Level” would help parents and public health officials know when lead in the drinking water reaches a level likely to produce an “elevated blood lead level” in an infant who is fed formula. This information can help parents and communities make informed choices about how to protect their children.

So we were pleased to see Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) tweet about EPA's response to his questions regarding the Household Action Level. As a member of the House subcommittee that funds the nation’s water programs, Israel asked the agency to provide an update on the agency’s efforts to release a Household Action Level for committee record.

Read More »

Posted in Drinking Water, EPA, Flint, lead, Regulation| Tagged , , , , | Comments are closed

Wearable wristbands detect flame retardants

Lindsay McCormick is a Research Analyst.

Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) recently featured an article on simple, silicone wristbands used to detect chemicals in the everyday environment. Developed by researchers from Oregon State University, these wearable wristbands act like sponges to absorb chemicals in the air, water and everyday consumer products. EDF sees exciting promise in this technology, and has begun using this tool to make the invisible world of chemicals, visible.

The C&EN article highlighted two new studies which used the wristbands to characterize flame retardant exposure – the first two published studies to demonstrate that the wristband technology can be effectively used for this purpose.

There is good reason to explore flame retardant exposure. A 1975 California flammability standard resulted in the addition of flame retardant chemicals to hundreds of millions of foam products in the U.S. including couches and foam baby products. As furniture and other products get old and breakdown, flame retardants are released into surrounding air and settle in the dust in our homes. Evidence from the CDC’s National Biomonitoring Program demonstrates that 99% of people tested have polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in their body, and other studies indicate that children are more highly exposed to flame retardants than adults. Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Emerging Testing Methods, Health Science| Tagged , , | Comments are closed

TSCA reform on hold again – and over what this time?

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

Well, it looks like American families will have to wait a bit longer for better protection from toxic chemicals, with today’s decision by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to place a hold on the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  Earlier this week, the House passed the legislation by a vote of 403-12, and it was due to come to Senate floor today – until Sen. Paul announced his hold.

Arguing that he needed more time to review the bill, Sen. Paul cited brand new concerns over two provisions that were already in the Senate bill when it came to the Senate floor last December by unanimous consent and passed on a voice vote with no objections.  Those provisions involve criminal penalties and state preemption.  Let’s look at each:   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

Initial analyses of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

Based on the text of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act posted today, I have prepared the following analyses of the bill:

I hope these analyses are useful to those interested in understanding this complex piece of legislation.

 

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed
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