A new federal bill was introduced last week into both the House (#6100) and the Senate (#3040) entitled the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act of 2008. This new legislation seeks to replace the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was passed in 1976 and has never been amended. When passed, the TSCA declared 62,000 chemicals already on the market to be safe, with little or no data to support this policy. Since that time another 20,000 chemicals have been put into public use, also with little or no data to support their safety.
Testing has shown that newborn babies are "pre-polluted" with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies. Testing by Environmental Working Group (EWG) has identified 455 chemicals in people. These chemicals are increasingly being linked in children to childhood cancer, autism, ADHD, infertility and birth defects. Of course, those of us with MCS are very familiar with the toxic effects of these chemicals in our own lives.
The Kid-Safe Chemical Act seeks to be a fundamental overhaul of our nation's chemical regulatory law. Some of the things it would require are the following:
+industrial chemicals be safe for infants and children;
+new chemicals be safety tested BEFORE they are sold;
+chemical manufacturers test and prove that the 62,000 chemicals already on the market that have never been tested are safe in order for them to remain in commerce;
+EPA to review "priority" chemicals, those which are found in people, on an expedited schedule;
+regular biomonitoring to determine what chemicals are in people & in what amounts;
+regular updates of health & safety data & provide EPA with with clear authority to request additional information & tests;
+incentives for manufacturers to further reduce health hazards;
+EPA to promote safer alternatives & alternatives to animal testing;
+protection of state & local rights;
+that this information be publicly available.
There is more information about this proposal at http://www.ewg.org/kidsafe . Since this legislation was just presented last week, it will take some time for it to get through committees and review and come to a vote in the Senate and House, but it is something I intend to follow closely. I'm sure that the chemical manufacturers have their lobbyists already lined up to fight this, but my sense is that the public is ready for this change. And putting it in the context of protecting children will gain even greater public interest.