WASHINGTON, July 31, 2013 — The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee convened a hearing today called “Strengthening Public Health Protections by Addressing Toxic Chemical Threats,” with  panels of experts addressing the need to reform the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Coming Clean environmental health participants comment:

“Thanks to Senator Barbara Boxer for convening this hearing and taking the lead on protecting our health from toxic chemicals,” said Nancy Buermeyer of Breast Cancer Fund, a witness at the hearing. “Congress must put limits on chemicals linked to skyrocketing rates of diseases like breast cancer. It’s an urgent priority to pass chemical reform, and it must be done right in a way that protects the health of the most vulnerable people.”

Pediatrician and author Alan Greene, MD comments on how toxic chemicals threaten children’s health during critical windows of development. “Babies are born with hundreds of toxic chemicals in their bodies that they were exposed to before even coming into the world. Protecting the health of our children and most vulnerable members of society must be a first priority in reforming our out-of-date chemical policies.”

Cecil Corbin-Mark, WEACT for Environmental Justice, Harlema witness at the hearing, explains: “Communities in Louisiana, Texas, Alaska, Michigan, Delaware, and many other places suffer from chemical contamination every day with the air they breathe, the water they drink and the ground their children play on. TSCA reform must address ‘hot spots’ or,’sacrifice zones’ where people can’t escape cancer causing chemicals.”

“Chemicals drift north on wind and water and our people have some of the highest levels of chemicals in our bodies because of our reliance on traditional foods such as fish and marine mammals,” says Vi Waghiyi, of the Yupik people of St Lawrence Island and Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “TSCA reform must address those of us who are most harmed by toxic chemicals. Our people are suffering and dying.”

“Consumers demand safer products and transparency, and businesses owners along the supply chain, in every sector, need to know the properties of chemicals and products marketed to them. When consumers discover toxic chemicals in products, retailers and manufacturers suffer while the multinational chemical companies remain largely unaccountable,”  states Ally LaTourelle of BioEconomy Partners, a member of the American Sustainable Business Council. “Additionally, any new legislation should give incentives for the development of safer chemicals.”

“We need chemical regulations that support state laws that create safer environments for their people,” says Ana Mascareñas from Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles. “California, Washington, New York and others have stepped forward to fulfill their sacred duty of protecting health, by passing chemical reforms that are missing at the federal level. Under the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, states lose that extra protection. and that is unacceptable.”

“As nurses, we see patients and families every day who are impacted by chronic diseases and disabilities linked to toxic chemicals. Today’s hearing is a positive move forward in protecting the health of all Americans as congress considers how to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act,” said Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM, Director of Programs at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE).

“This hearing is a great beginning for the real discussion on how we can reform the Toxic Substances and Control Act of 1986 to protect our health from toxic chemicals,” remarks Jamie McConnell from Women’s Voices for the Earth.

By: Coming Clean