KSCA Would “Change the Paradigm” to Protect Kids’ Health
“There is growing agreement across the political spectrum that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 does not adequately protect Americans from toxic chemicals. In the 34 years since TSCA was enacted, the EPA has been able to require testing on just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals produced and used in the U.S., and just five chemicals have been regulated under this law.” — Safer Chemicals
When it was enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) automatically assumed that some 62,000 chemicals were safe, even though their effects on humans had never even been tested. Equally scary, as each new chemical is introduced, the burden of proof rests on the EPA to show that a chemical is hazardous in order to restrict its use — and that, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “rarely happens.”
If enacted, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act (KSCA) would change the process of approving chemicals for the marketplace in several significant ways. According to CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in a recent television broadcast, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will soon reintroduce the bill proposing KSCA, which would change “the paradigm from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent, in the sense that [a chemical] has to be tested before it can actually come to market.”
As Gupta points out, pesticides and pharmaceuticals are “already treated that way. And, at least with respect to kids, they want to be sure that any new potential exposures out there are tested for health effects before they ever come to market.”
Research sponsored by EWG has shown more than 200 chemicals present in unborn children’s blood — many of them carcinogens, hormone disrupters, and neurotoxins. Children’s health should not be held hostage to industry and the profits of big business. It’s well past time for the US Congress to enact legislation that truly protects children (and adults) from toxic chemicals in the products we manufacture and use. We need KSCA to replace TSCA with stronger guidelines for protecting children and unborn babies from toxic chemicals.
With Lautenberg’s support, children’s health advocates are hopeful that KSCA will finally pass. But the path to becoming law may not be easy. KSCA was first introduced in Congress in 2005 and re-introduced again in 2008. It faced tough opposition and was defeated each time.
To assure that KSCA gets passed in 2010, we must tell our legislators to support it. The first step in making a persuasive argument is to learn the facts.
One way to do that is to read about the bill on the Environmental Working Group website. The site provides a downloadable pdf that puts the two acts (TSCA and KSCA) side by side for comparison. This is a must-read for all of us who care about children’s health.
Another way to become informed is to find out from an expert on the subject. If you will be in Austin, Texas, on March 19, you are invited to hear Dr. Phil Landrigan speak about children’s health and the environment, as well as the importance of passing KSCA.
Hear Dr. Landrigan
Title: “Children’s Health and the Environment: Target for Prevention”
Speaker: Dr. Philip Landrigan
Date: March 19, 2010
Time: 3:30 – 4:30, Reception to follow
Location: Livestrong Board Room, 2201 E. 6th St., Austin, TX
Dr. Phil Landrigan serves as Chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai. He is widely known as one of two scientists responsible for research that led to Congress mandating an end to the use of lead in gasoline and paint. Landrigan also was instrumental in spearheading the National Children’s Study, which will study the environmental effects on children’s health in sample communities across the US over the next couple of decades.
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