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Businesses Express Concern over Toxic Legislation

For Immediate Release: 
May 24, 2016
Contact Info
Bob Keener

WASHINGTON, DC (May 24, 2016)—The U.S. House voted today to approve sweeping legislation reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, a 40-year-old law that regulates potentially toxic chemicals in consumer products and food. Business leaders praised the improvement in EPA’s authority to regulate, but pointed out that the new legislation weakens several important protections and misses opportunities to encourage innovation.

The quotes below are from Companies for Safer Chemicals, an industry group organized by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), and co-founded by Seventh Generation.

“This compromise strengthens EPA’s authority to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals, but it falls short in many ways,” said David Levine, CEO and co-founder of ASBC. “The Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition worked hard to improve the safety and transparency provisions in the original Senate bill, which was written to protect the legacy chemical producers.”

"While this bill does represent some modest improvement to current law, true reform must go much farther. This bill underscores the need for more transparency so that consumers know exactly which chemicals are present in the products they use," said John Replogle, CEO of Seventh Generation.

“It is encouraging that EPA will finally have the authority to properly regulate chemicals after decades of inaction,” said Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products.  “However, the pace of chemical reviews in this version of the bill falls far short of what is needed to accelerate the number of safer products into the marketplace.”

"This legislation only provides for limited reviews of chemicals by the EPA, and continues to require very little from the manufacturers of chemicals themselves. At this rate, most toxic chemicals currently being used in consumer products will not be reviewed or tested in our lifetimes.  It's time for the public to demand better,” said Barry Cik, Founder of Naturepedic.

“It is vital that we have a chemical safety system that reviews chemicals based on their health and environmental hazards, and this bill accomplishes that. However, it is unfortunate that the states’ authority, where most chemical safety advances have come, will be unnecessarily restricted by the preemption provision,” said Jessica Iclisoy, Founder of California Baby + Kids.

"We applaud House and Senate leaders for coming together to make some key improvements to TSCA," said Christopher Gavigan, Chief Products Officer and Co-Founder of The Honest Company. "At Honest, we look forward to working diligently with other coalition partners in the years ahead to further improve government regulation of toxic chemicals. We are optimistic that consumers and companies alike will continue to demand more transparency and stricter, swifter regulation of known toxins to protect the health and safety of all families."

“Now more than ever we need to tightly control dangerous chemicals and develop the green alternatives that will protect human and environmental health, and give the U.S. a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Businesses committed to sustainable practices increasingly recognize the value of strong toxic chemical control. The new toxics legislation makes some improvements, but with thousands of unregulated chemicals, the EPA still needs greater authority and states with tough laws on toxics should be allowed to retain those laws,” said Fran Teplitz, Co-Executive Director of Green America.

The final language resulted from negotiations over the House-passed TSCA Modernization Act (H.R. 2576) and the Senate-passed Chemical Safety Improvement Act (S. 697). The negotiated language was passed by the House today and will be voted on by the Senate tomorrow. The president is expected to sign the bill.

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 200,000 business owners, executives and investors.