(Washington, DC – June 15, 2010) As Americans decry the tragedy of the BP oil spill, including the lack of evidence of safety for the chemical dispersants being used in the Gulf of Mexico, a new online campaign launched today provides tools and information Americans can use to press for fundamental reform of our nation's toxic chemical law. I Am Not a Guinea Pig (www.notaguineapig.org) engages Americans from all walks of life to demand better protection of human health and the environment as Congress debates how to overhaul the 34-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
"Chemicals are everywhere around us, and many are simply not safe," said Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). "Children's toys, kitchen products, cosmetics, fast food containers – countless items that we use on a daily basis are made with chemicals that science is linking to the rising rates of childhood cancers, infertility, learning disabilities and more. It's time Congress acts to stop these unregulated exposures to protect the health of Americans for generations to come."
For the first time in over 30 years, revisions to TSCA are being debated by Congress. Widely regarded as one of the weakest of all major U.S. environmental laws, TSCA was supposed to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to identify and regulate dangerous chemicals. However, the law is so weak that the EPA was unable to use it even to ban asbestos, a known and deadly human carcinogen that is barred in more than 50 countries.
In April 2010, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) unveiled the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, an ambitious bill aimed at revamping TSCA that would go a long way toward bringing our chemicals policy into the 21st century. To encourage support for a strong bill, EDF has created the I Am Not a Guinea Pig campaign, working closely with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition and several of its members, including Autism Society, Health Care Without Harm, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Moms Rising, Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Teens Turning Green.
"We encourage all Americans to speak out against untested and unregulated chemicals," said Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. "Chemicals should meet a standard of safety for all people, and especially vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women. That can only happen when Congress hears from fed-up Americans tired of being treated like Guinea pigs."
For the initial launch, the site provides information and resources tailored to:
- Teens and Toxic Chemicals in Products
- Kids & Chemicals: Developing Brains At Risk
- Health Professionals and Chemical Exposures
To help spread the word on the campaign, join our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NotAGuineaPig), follow the conversation on Twitter around the #NAGP hashtag and sign up for our blog (www.edf.org/chemandnano). The campaign website also includes videos underlining the prevalence of toxic chemical exposures and what we can do to prevent them.