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House Chemicals Bill Would Undermine Health and Safety

WASHINGTON (February 28, 2014) – A House bill to overhaul federal oversight of the chemical industry would do more harm than good, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The bill, introduced late yesterday by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), chair of the House Environment and Economy Subcommittee, would overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a 1976 law that is widely viewed as a failure.

Daniel Rosenberg, senior attorney with the Health and Environment Program at NRDC, made the following statement:

“The bill is a gross disappointment. It purports to reform TSCA but would do more harm than good. For months, the House has heard testimony detailing the fatal flaws of current law and of the bill introduced in the Senate. Yet the House Republicans now have released a draft bill that mirrors and even builds on those deficiencies.  The bill has no deadlines, weakens EPA’s ability to protect the public from harmful chemicals in several ways, and limits EPA’s ability to get health and safety information from chemical manufacturers.  At the same time, it pre-empts state protection efforts.  This pro-industry laundry list is particularly remarkable coming in the wake of the West Virginia chemical spill.

“We remain willing to discuss serious chemical safety reform.  But this bill has more in common with the House Republicans’ efforts this week to tear apart the whole system for creating public safeguards than it does with any legitimate attempt to protect the public.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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