WASHINGTON (July 29, 2010) – In front of a giant inflatable rubber duck meant to illustrate how even the simplest items can contain unsafe chemicals, a crowd of scientists, health professionals, parents, children and advocates participated in the inaugural “Race for the Cause” on the National Mall today.
“The government’s authority to control chemicals, including those we know cause cancer, has not kept up with our scientific understanding, leaving the American public exposed and unprotected,” said Dr. Sarah Janssen of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We need to take action to reduce the public’s exposure to unsafe chemicals like asbestos, hex chrome, vinyl chloride and formaldehyde. We need to fix the dated and broken law so the Environmental Protection Agency can take action on chemicals we know are unsafe, and the EPA and the public can get the information it needs to answer the questions about those we don’t.”
Each year, millions of Americans run or walk in support of research to find a cure for chronic ailments like breast cancer, asthma, autism, and colon cancer. What if we could also control toxic chemicals to keep people from getting sick in the first place? Thousands of untested chemicals lurk in a variety of products ranging from cleaning sprays, soaps and detergents to food packaging, furniture and upholstery, electronics, building materials, auto interiors and even clothing. Many have been linked to causing cancers and other diseases and there just isn’t enough information about the others due to Toxic Substances Control Act initially passed in 1976.
“By ensuring a safer, less toxic environment, we can improve our health and well-being while also reducing the costs borne by our health care system,” said Brenda Afzal of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments “We should seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our quality of life and reduce the burdens placed on families struggling with chronic disease.”
The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held a hearing today on the “Toxic Chemicals Safety Act” which would give the EPA many of the tools it needs to obtain more information about chemicals and take steps to reduce exposure to those that are unsafe. A similar bill, the Safe Chemicals Act, exists in the Senate.
“We need to end the ‘anything goes’ mentality when it comes to putting toxic chemicals in consumer products,” said Andy Igrejas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. “The pending bills in Congress would put common sense limits on chemicals that we know are hazardous, and also help those American companies that are working to make safer products in a world market that increasingly demands them.”