Congress Must Ensure Important Information about Chemical Use Is Not Hidden from People: Phthalates

Fact Sheet
August 11, 2010

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it was intended to ensure that chemicals are safe throughout their lifecycle, from manufacture to use and disposal. But weaknesses in the law have left the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unable to act on known health dangers. Other laws, such as those setting air, water, and workplace safety standards, do not adequately regulate exposure to most chemicals, nor do they address the hazards a chemical may pose over its entire lifecycle. New legislation is needed to rapidly reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, such as phthalates, a class of chemicals used in plastics, personal care products, and other everyday products. Whether inhaled, ingested, or absorbed across the skin, some phthalates may disrupt the body’s hormones, causing reproductive health effects. NRDC urges Congress to update TSCA to protect people and the environment from toxic chemicals.