The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently called for the passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act bill in an effort to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Citing such examples as toxic flame retardants that are present in many couch cushions and present neurocognitive risks to children, the EDF highlighted issues with the current TSCA. These include the Environmental Protection Agency’s lack of power when it comes to removing hazardous materials and the fact that chemicals do not have to be tested before being used in consumer products.
“Most people think somebody must be making sure the chemicals we use are safe,” EDF biochemist Richard Denison said. “But it’s essentially the Wild West.”
While the EDF has worked with the private sector to bypass these regulatory flaws – including recent cooperation with Walmart that will remove dangerous chemicals from thousands of household products – it still puts a premium on legislative change.
Introduced in March, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is a bipartisan effort that the EDF believes would fix many of the larger problems in the TSCA.
“We must transform the current system that allows dangerous or untested chemicals to stay on store shelves,” Denison said.