Last Chance to Stop the Fake Chemical Safety Bill!
CEH has been working for months to urge the U.S. Senate to stand up to the chemical industry and create chemical safety rules that will truly protect American children and families.
Unfortunately, the Senate is planning to vote on a version of a “chemical safety” bill (S. 697) that falls far short of the real reforms we need to protect our families.
THIS MAY BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO STOP THIS DANGEROUS BILL! Please call your two U.S. Senators today and let them know that you oppose S.697, the Udall-Vitter chemical safety bill.
Here’s what you can say and how you can call today:
1. Find your Senators’ names and contact numbers (or you can call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators by name)
2. When you reach the Senator’s office, here’s what you can say:
Hi, my name is _________________ and I’m from (city, state). I am a (parent, health professional, community leader, concerned constituent, etc), I am very concerned about harmful chemicals, and I am opposed to S. 697, the Udall-Vitter chemical safety bill.
I am calling to strongly urge the Senator to speak out against the harmful provisions of S. 697.
This bill could actually make it harder to protect our children and families from chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects and other serious diseases. I am very concerned that the bill would bar states from making rules to protect our families for many years.
Specifically, I ask the Senator to make a public statement against the harmful “pause” provision of the bill that would stop states from creating rules to protect children and families from harmful chemicals while waiting years for federal action.
We’re counting on the Senator to keep us safe from toxic chemicals. Thank you for your time.
If you can call or email CEH to let us know what your Senators’ offices say about the bill, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.689.6999.
For more background:
Corporations that make some of the world’s most deadly chemicals are promoting a new law this Spring 2015 that they say would make you and your family safer from chemical health threats in your everyday environment (cleaning products, toys, plastics, etc.). Instead, it opens the floodgates to an onslaught of toxic dangers. Congress is dangerously close to accepting their proposal for the first major change in federal chemical safety rules in more than forty years. They need to hear from you, the voter.
What Every American Should Know
Adopted in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has long been criticized for failing to protect American families from the thousands of disease-causing chemicals that have since flooded our everyday environment via our air, water, food and products. The primary problem: TSCA doesn’t require that chemicals be tested for health effects prior to being released. Over time, many states enacted their own chemical regulations to fill the void.
New Reform Makes Matters Worse
For years, Congress has been debating ideas to fix the problem. The chemical industry fought these efforts at every step and most of the stronger enforcements and protections were scuttled. Instead, the chemical industry wrote their own chemical reform bill and poured $190 million into congressional campaign funds to move it to the voting floor where it is today. Sponsored by Senator’s Vitter & Udall, this fake reform is brilliantly crafted to sound protective, but in actuality would give the industry everything they want and leave the American family largely unprotected.
Problems With The New Vitter/Udall Bill
It blocks the states: The bill undercuts states’ ability to pass and enforce their own chemical safety laws to protect its citizens, or even to enforce state laws identical to federal law, when the federal government isn’t doing the job. Since states have led the way on toxic chemical reform, tying the hands of states could stop progress on this issue.
It gives chemicals a free ride: The bill sets up two paths for chemicals, both of which could lead to toxic chemicals in the marketplace for years.
- HIGH PRIORITY: This path requires an EPA safety assessment that could – and likely will – take years to complete (the EPA has been assessing the chemical dioxin for 30 years). In the interim, chemical companies will stall EPA action through litigation and the states will be barred from acting– thus creating a “regulatory void” where this “high priority” chemical can be widely sold.
- LOW PRIORITY: This path is a free ride for chemicals deemed “likely to” meet a safety standard (the law doesn’t say how this determination would be made). What does that mean? Nobody knows. The EPA would then have up to 7 years or longer to do a legitimate safety assessment during which time the chemical will stay on the market and cannot be regulated.
What The Chemical Industry Wants
To leaders in the chemical industry, the dissatisfaction with the current law represents a golden opportunity to fix the game in their favor for many years. The Vitter-Udall draft bill being discussed in the Senate this session would give the industry all four of the things they want.
- To claim that Congress passed a tough new chemical safety law, while in fact maintaining some of the worst aspects of the old law and creating a system that allows harmful chemicals into the American marketplace for up to 7 years before any meaningful review.
- To claim that the EPA is protecting you from dangerous chemicals, and then depriving the EPA of resources and authority to actually do the job.
- To nullify or weaken scores of state laws that American voters passed to protect their families from disease-causing chemicals.
- To use a new law as a mechanism to pressure other countries with stronger chemical regulations to “harmonize” their “test it first” rules down to the new “test it later” US standard.
Chemical Industry Uses Tobacco Industry Tactics
The chemical industry has fought real safety reforms, manipulated science, and lied to politicians and the public about the safety of their chemicals for nearly 100 years. The chemical industry’s lobby arm, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) spent millions of dollars to take control of the drafting of the legislation so they can create the most financially favorable arrangement. They use false claims that stricter laws will cost jobs, stifle innovation, and hurt manufacturing growth. The truth is that leading green companies have already demonstrated that a “safety first” approach spurs innovation, generates growth and creates jobs.
The Importance of State Laws
More than 150 laws in 35 different states now restrict or regulate chemical use with at least 28 states expected to consider further chemical legislation this year.Using these laws, states and organizations like CEH have been able to hold companies accountable for exposing American families to disease causing chemicals. While current state laws would be “grandfathered in” under the Vitter-Udall bill, the landscape of chemical threats to human health is constantly changing (some estimate that 2000 new chemicals introduced annually) and states would be prevented from enacting new laws protecting their residents from new chemical dangers as they emerge.