Staying healthy these days is a challenge, not only in terms of diet, exercise and proper rest, but also in terms of avoiding toxic chemicals in the products we use every day. Because of the impact of toxic chemicals on health and quality of life, the issue is something all of us should be concerned about as consumers.
Federal law addresses the issue of toxic chemicals found in consumer products through the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was originally passed in 1967. Under the TSCA, the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to require manufacturers to report and keep records regarding the chemicals they use in their products, as well as to restrict the use of certain chemicals that are considered too dangerous to use.
The problem with the TSCA is that it has gotten quite outdated since it was passed. Chemicals that were not considered dangerous back then are now known to be so, and our knowledge is continuing to grow. Unfortunately, the process for regulating dangerous chemicals doesn’t move at the pace it should to best protect consumers.
Last month, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would address the problem by requiring the EPA to expedite the review and regulation of chemicals used in products. Under the proposal, states would be permitted to pass their own regulations to add to the risk management rules passed by the EPA. Also, manufacturers could request that the EPA provide a specific ruling on their products.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue and what consumers need to know about the Toxic Substances Control Act in order to protect themselves.