Congress takes on chemical safety

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Great news: Congress is finally going to take a serious crack at reforming the totally outdated and broken system of chemical regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency. After years of hard work by a coalition of environmental health organizations including the Breast Cancer Fund, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D, N.J., introduced legislation that will overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, the 1976 law that governs how the EPA regulates chemicals.

Under TSCA, the Environmental Protection Agency has only been able to require safety testing for 200 of the 80,000 chemicals in use today and has only banned or restricted five of those chemicals. Now, for the first time in decades, Congress is poised to give real teeth to TSCA.

The Breast Cancer Fund will continue to bring the voice and strength of breast cancer activists to this debate to ensure that the EPA gets the tools it needs to truly protect public health, helping to prevent not only breast cancer, but many other diseases as well.

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One thought on “Congress takes on chemical safety

  1. Making industrial chemicals safer is something we can all get behind. If we want safer chemicals and a safer environment then we must use nonanimal methods of testing.
    Currently, many toxicity tests are based on experiments in animals and use methods that were developed as long ago as the 1930’s; they and are slow, inaccurate, open to uncertainty and manipulation, and do not adequately protect human health. These tests take anywhere from months to years, and tens of thousands to millions of dollars to perform. More importantly, the current testing paradigm has a poor record in predicting effects in humans and an even poorer record in leading to actual regulation of dangerous chemicals.
    The blueprint for development and implementation for nonanimal testing is the National Research Council report, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy in 2007.” This report calls for a shift away from the use of animals in toxicity testing. The report also concludes that human cell- and computer-based approaches are the best way to protect human health because they allow us to understand more quickly and accurately the varied effects that chemicals can have on different groups of people. They are also more affordable and more humane.
    These methods are ideal for assessing the real world scenarios such as mixtures of chemicals, which have proven problematic using animal-based test methods. And, they’re the only way we can assess all chemicals on the market.

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