June 22, 2016 was a key milestone for the environment and the health of Americans.President Obama signed a bipartisan bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). A major update to the environment statute in 20 years.
TSCA was created in 1976 to help keep dangerous chemicals from the market after certain chemicals were confirmed to cause serious health problems including cancer, birth defects, among many others.
Unfortunately, the laws in place did not allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate these toxins or necessitate testing of products believed to have these chemicals before they are brought into the market. This left families vulnerable to serious health impacts. Had the laws been changed to accommodate EPA’s regulations, it is likely we would have put an end to toxin related health issues many years ago.
It is therefore a great achievement and a reason to celebrate a safer future. The new bill – The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act- gives EPA the much needed authority to evaluate and regulate chemicals in the market for the safety of American families. This means that EPA now have the ability to act quickly and reduce exposure to toxic chemicals already in the market posing health risks. The bill also facilitates their work by providing funds from fees charged to the chemical companies.
While there is a lot ahead that needs to be done, this is a big step towards a safer environment and healthier families.