June 23, 2020

Udall: Four Years After TSCA Reform, Fight Continues to Protect Bipartisan Chemical Safety Measure from Trump Administration

Trump EPA issues final evaluation of deadly chemical, underestimating risk to American people

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement marking the fourth anniversary of Congress passing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, bipartisan legislation Udall authored that comprehensively reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The reform act represented the first major environmental legislation passed by Congress in over 25 years.

“Four years ago, Congress took the bold, bipartisan step of fixing our broken chemical safety law. TSCA had been on the books since 1976, and was intended to protect the American public from dangerous chemicals. But the law had been eviscerated by the courts, and the EPA could not even ban asbestos – a known carcinogen – from the market. 

“It was hard work, over a number of years – bringing environmental champions, industry, and lawmakers to consensus – but we did it. We reformed TSCA with overwhelming bipartisan support, promising the American people that the federal government would finally begin to protect them from toxic and dangerous chemicals.

“And yet, just last week, under the reformed TSCA, the Trump EPA continued its reckless assault on our health and environment by issuing a final risk evaluation for methylene chloride – a potentially deadly chemical found in paint strippers – that falls woefully short of protecting the public, especially workers.”

“But, while the Trump administration has done what it can to try to undo the protections we built into the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the courts, scientists, and advocates are holding the administration’s feet to the fire to make sure that the promise of our reform legislation is kept and Americans are protected from the dangers of toxic chemicals.

“Now, more than ever, we must rise to the occasion and protect our communities from harmful toxins that threaten American families. Communities of color are especially vulnerable. Chemical plants are disproportionately sited in disadvantaged communities. Now is not the time to let down our guard. 

“I want to thank all the families, organizations, and advocates across the country who helped make TSCA reform a reality and who continue to work to protect consumers from dangerous products. As we recognize our victory from four years ago, I will continue my work to prevent toxic chemicals that risk the health and safety of American families from getting onto our shelves, food and fields, and into our homes and workplaces.”