May 11, 2010

Your chemicals...I mean products, are safe right???

By:  Larry Rickman
May 11th, 2010

I was pleased to read that Sen Lautenberg had introduced legislation that would create more strict laws on product manufactures. This legislation intends to make it more difficult for companies to put 80,000 chemicals in our products without having tested them for human safety and consumption or better said would require companies to prove their products are safe for human use.

Yes that's right currently the EPA is responsible for testing chemicals to determine if they are dangerous for human consumption. Can you imagine that shampoo can be manufactured with any of a number of toxic chemicals and the manufacturer has no responsibility to test the chemicals for safety for human consumption. This isn't to say that they are blatantly putting out dangerous products but since they aren't responsible for proving the safety of their products they are certainly cutting corners.  BPA is a prime example; its now going to be regulated by the EPA after being in use for decades.  Having the EPA responsible for "proving" the health concerns of the chemicals manufacturers put in consumer products seems a bit backwards. 

I was intrigued by this legislation so I sent Sen. Reid (my Senator) an email via his website. Here is the response in its entirety - pay special attention to the bold print;

Dear Mr. Rickman:

Thank you for contacting me about the regulation of hazardous chemicals. I appreciate hearing from you.  As you may know, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with authority to require reporting, record-keeping, and testing requirements, as well as restrictions relating to certain chemical substances. In September, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that EPA will analyze and regulate six high-profile, widely used chemicals that have raised health concerns. Included in this list are: bisphenol A (or BPA), phthalates, brominated flame retardants, and perflourinated compounds. TSCA has been criticized as inadequate in providing for the effective testing and regulation of industrial chemicals, and for this reason some groups are calling for legislation to reform it.

On April 15, 2010, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S. 3209, which would require manufacturers to provide a minimum set of data set for each chemical they produce, and would give EPA the authority to request any additional data it deems necessary to make a safety determination. This would significantly change the current method of chemicals regulation, as manufacturers would have to provide information about chemicals in consumer products instead of presuming substances are safe until proven dangerous, as is currently the case. This bill is currently in the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Please know that I will keep your support for reforming TSCA in mind should this or similar legislation come to the full Senate for consideration.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

My best wishes to you.


United States Senator

So the bottom line is that "some groups" feel the 1976 law needs to be doesn't appear that Sen Reid is very excited about this legislation and perhaps doesn't see the merit in making companies responsible for ensuring the safety of their products.  The bill is currently in "committee".

So I pose the question; is anyone out there concerned about the untested chemicals in your products?  Are we going to continue to sit on the sidelines and allow corporations to sell us toxic products that may well be responsible for the prevalence of cancer in our society, certainly impact our immune systems, and impact our well being and that of our children daily?

Am I the only one "UPSET" that our government has done this poor a job at protecting its citizens?  Regulate ALL chemicals and do it now Sen Reid.  Push the legislation forward Mr. are the Majority Leader in the Senate and you have the power to make this an issue.  If the health of your constituents is what drove the Health-care legislation enacted earlier this year as you have stated, then this should be attached to it and passed quickly.  Make corporations responsible for the toxic products they sell; not the EPA, and not the government. 

Protect our Children Sen. Reid.


  1. This post says the bill is "in conference." That's way too hopeful.

    "In conference" refers to the process after a bill has passed independently in the House and Senate, and lawmakers from both chambers are working out the differences.

    The chemicals bill is far from the "in conference" stage.

    A bill only exists in the Senate and it hasn't been even taken up by a committee for a vote. The House hasn't introduced a chemicals bill yet, though it has publicly available draft legislation.

  2. Pau,
    Thanks for your comment. The piece actually says that the legislation is in committee not "conference" as you stated.

    Agree that this legislation is a long way from becoming bill thus my blog on the topic. It about 35 years overdue for an overhaul. Chemicals in the market place have exploded in that time and very few of them are regulated due to the EPA's limited resources.

    Common Sen Reid...protect the American people and push this forward.