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Udall: Now is the Time to Reform 'Broken' Chemical Safety Law

Senate should build on bipartisan agreement and pass law to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals

July 31, 2013
  • WASHINGTON - Today, during a hearing of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) urged his colleagues to work together to pass major bipartisan legislation to protect Americans from toxic chemicals.

    Udall, who chairs the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, has been leading a bipartisan effort with Senator David Vitter (R-La.) to update and replace the federal government's much-criticized signature law on toxic pollution, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).

    Public health advocates, government officials and industry alike have characterized the almost 40-year-old TSCA as broken and utterly ineffective. During a hearing of the EPW Committee, Udall said that the bill he has cosponsored with Vitter gives Congress the first opportunity in decades to reform TSCA into a law that protects American families.

    Udall pledged to work with stakeholders and colleagues in both parties during August. He hopes all sides can agree to move forward by early fall.

    He issued the following statement after the hearing:

    "Americans carry as many as 212 foreign chemicals in our bodies - six of which are carcinogens, and none of them are properly regulated by the government. The law is so flawed, the government hasn't even been able to ban asbestos - a known carcinogen. The current law gives us little confidence that our everyday products are safe.

    "We urgently need to improve the law so that it can effectively do what Congress intended - protect Americans from dangerous chemicals. Enacting major environmental laws is a very tall order. Despite near universal agreement that TSCA is broken we have struggled to find a bipartisan path forward. We now have a rare commodity - a bipartisan agreement on a bill that will make a real difference for American families. Let's seize this moment and do the right thing."

    Video of Senator Udall's opening statement is available here.

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