Officials from thirteen states joined forces today to dictate a set of eight guiding principles to be used for reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA -- a law from 1976 which provides the EPA with the authority to regulate toxic chemicals.
The Obama Administration and Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the EPA, recently acknowledged that a major overhaul of this decades-old law is imperative for public safety.
There is concern, however, about the way that the Administration is setting out to reform TSCA. As Laurie Valeriano, policy director of the Washington Toxics Coalition wrote recently, "the changes are modeled after an approach that will result in endless government studies and gridlock when what we really need is action."
Thirteen states -- California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington -- came together to outline principles which will help avoid gridlock and efficiently move to protect the public from known toxic chemicals.
"Once again states are leading the call to fix our badly broken chemical safety system," praised Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
"New state laws are helping to set the pace, but states can’t go it alone. We need Congressional action to pass federal legislation to protect family health by requiring safer chemicals."
Advocates from the states feel they are a natural choice to provide the principles as they have been fighting the fight -- protecting their citizens from harmful chemicals which can cause hormone imbalances, cancer, brain damage, obesity, miscarriage and diabetes -- for many years, and are leading the charge in chemical reform.
Linda Adams, California Secretary for Environmental Protection stated,
"We need a more innovative approach to chemical policy, to apply our best scientific solutions to today’s real-world environmental challenges, and these principles help define the important changes needed."
The principles outlined by the states include:
- Require chemical data reporting.
- Demonstrate chemicals and products are safe.
- Prioritize chemicals of concern.
- Protect the most vulnerable.
- Promote safer chemicals and products.
- Address emerging contaminants.
- Strengthen federal law and preserve states' rights.
- Fund state programs.