Last week on Capitol Hill, Seventh Generation’s CEO John Replogle convened a panel discussion on why the current law governing chemicals in the United States, called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), urgently needs to be updated.
As consumers we might assume that chemicals in our household products are tested for safety before heading to the marketplace but sadly that is not the case. According to the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition, over 80,000 chemicals have been approved for use since TSCA became law and only about 200 have these have been tested for safety over the last 37 years. What’s worse, the current law allows nearly 20% of these chemicals to remain secret, and consumers are unaware of them all together. The lack of oversight is having a real, tangible effect on people, impacting our health and wellness. Chronic disease trends are on the rise.
Evidence has suggested that chemical exposure to a wide range of serious diseases. (I have personally seen the effects of chemicals on my own son, which is a blog post for another day.)
As just one of many examples, researchers have found an association between levels of PBDE flame retardants in the cord blood of babies and delays in mental and physical development. And the widespread use of phthalates in consumer products has resulted in contamination of breast milk, umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid. Many phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to changes in sex hormone levels, obesity, reduced female fertility, preterm birth and low birth weight, a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms, and altered toddler behavior.
Introduced this year by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), would update regulations on toxic chemicals and incentivize companies to work with federal regulators on testing and disclosure. More information on the legislation and the need for reform can be found at http://www.seventhgeneration.com/toxin-free/, http://www.saferchemicals.org/, and http://www.breastcancerfund.org/.
Are you in support of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act? If so, consider talking to your state representative about supporting this act so that we can all live without harmful chemicals in our products.