In the news

  • Obama Signs Bipartisan Chemical Safety Bill
    USA Today, June 22, 2016
    The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is the first major update to environmental legislation in two decades, overhauling the process for regulating toxic chemicals, allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to ban substances like asbestos, and limiting the secrecy around those chemicals after 10 years.
  • Rare Bipartisan Bill to Make Household Goods Safer Becomes Law
    Christian Science Monitor, June 22, 2016
    President Obama signed a sweeping reform of the nation’s chemical regulations system, issuing newfound authority to regulators to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals in almost every household product.
  • Obama Set to Sign Bipartisan Update of 1976 Toxic Substance Law
    The New York Times, June 22, 2016
    The legislation is the first major rewrite of the toxic substance law since it was originally passed in 1976, and it is being hailed as a landmark improvement in protecting the public from dangerous substances.
  • When Red and Blue in Congress Makes Green
    Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2016
    Bipartisan agreement this week produced vital legislation to fix a broken chemical-safety system.
  • Working Across the Aisle for Chemical Safety
    The Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2016
    A bipartisan bill on its way to President Obama beefs up the EPA’s ability to regulate chemicals in thousands of products.
  • Congress Passes Largest Chemical Safety Law in 40 Years
    NPR, June 8, 2016
    Congress has passed the biggest chemical safety legislation in 40 years. NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Richard Denison of the Environmental Defense Fund about what this means for consumers.
  • Sweeping Overhaul of Nation’s Chemical-Safety Laws Clears Final Legislative Hurdle
    The Washington Post, June 7, 2016
    The Senate passed legislation Tuesday evening that will overhaul the way the federal government regulates every chemical sold on the market in the United States. The bipartisan accord represents the most sweeping environmental measure to pass Congress in a quarter-century.
  • Congress sends Obama Bill to Regulate Toxics
    The Associated Press, June 7, 2016
    Congress on Tuesday sent President Barack Obama a sweeping bill that would for the first time regulate tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in everyday products, from household cleaners to clothing and furniture.
  • Compromise (Gasp!) fixes “The Worst Environmental Law”
    Poughkeepsie Journal, June 1, 2016
    Bill expected to provide new teeth to EPA oversight of chemicals
  • Miracle on the Potomac: The New Bipartisan Law Regulating Toxics
    The Huffington Post, May 31, 2016
    [Legislation] regulating toxic substances won huge bipartisan congressional majorities. Its passage reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s when bipartisan super majorities enacted most of our federal environmental policy framework.
  • At Long Last, New Chemical Safety Regulations
    Forbes, May 31, 2016
    Congress is poised to overhaul the nation’s broken chemical regulations for the first time in four decades.
  • Honor Frank Lautenberg by Protecting Our Kids
    The Hill, May 25, 2016
    The Lautenberg Act is not only about Frank’s legacy. It’s about all our children and grandchildren across the country—exposed to the invisible fog of untested and unregulated chemicals. It is time for Congress to take action. It’s what the American people deserve – and what Frank fought so hard to achieve.
  • The Government Isn’t Protecting You from Toxic Chemicals. Congress Must Fix That
    The Washington Post, May 24, 2016
    On its merits, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act should pass by acclamation.
  • Congress Moves, Finally, on Toxic Chemicals
    The New York Times, May 24, 2016
    Congress is finally getting serious about hazardous chemicals in household products and industrial goods. The House is expected to vote on Tuesday on a bill overhauling a 1976 chemical safety law that has made it hard for federal regulators to ban toxic substances, even known carcinogens like asbestos. The Senate is expected to follow later in the week.
  • Obama ‘Strongly Supports’ Chemical Overhaul Bill
    The Hill, May 23, 2016
    The Obama administration said it “strongly supports” the bipartisan compromise chemical safety bill rolled out Monday and wants Congress to quickly pass it.The backing from the administration came Monday from the White House, but it was no surprise, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had long supported congressional efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
  • Congress Reaches Deal to Overhaul Chemical Regulation
    Associated Press, May 19, 2016
    A bipartisan agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators would set new safety standards for asbestos and other dangerous chemicals, including tens of thousands that have gone unregulated for decades. A bill to be voted on as soon as next week would offer new protections for pregnant women, children, workers and others vulnerable to the effects of chemicals such as formaldehyde and styrene used in homes and businesses every day. If enacted into law, the bill would be the first significant update to the Toxic Substances Control Act since the law was adopted in 1976.
  • Congress is Overhauling an Outdated Law that Affects Nearly Every Product You Own
    Washington Post, May 19, 2016
    Congress has reached agreement on the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. chemical safety laws in 40 years, a rare bipartisan accord that has won the backing of both industry officials and some of the Hill’s most liberal lawmakers.
  • Lawmakers Announce Deal on TSCA Reform
    Morning Consult, May 19, 2016
    The deal reconciles differences between separate bills passed last year by the House and Senate. It also reaches a compromise on the preemption of additional state regulations on chemicals. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she would like to see more improvements made to the text before it gets a vote, but added that the agreement is already an improvement over the current law.
  • House Senate Leaders Finalizing Chemical Bill Compromise
    The Hill, May 18, 2016
    The EPA joined in on the optimism about the TSCA compromise. A spokeswoman said the most recent draft the agency saw is “a clear improvement over current law,” and aligns with the Obama administration’s priorities for TSCA reform.
  • Congressional Compromise Possible on Toxic Substances Control Act
    Morning Consult, April 20, 2016
    We must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to better protect public health, the environment, and our nation’s cherished wildlife by reducing the threats posed by the most toxic chemicals.
  • I Was Poisoned By Toxic Water, Enough is Enough
    Time, March 7, 2016
    I have a message to my lawmakers: We are counting on you to give us a law that protects our families from toxic exposures. Strengthening this dangerously outdated and inadequate law will save lives.
  • EPA Largely Prefers Senate Toxics Bill
    The Hill, March 3, 2016
    The Obama administration prefers many aspects of the Senate’s chemical safety reform bill to those in matching House legislation, it told leading lawmakers.
  • Administration largely sides with Senate negotiators in TSCA talks
    Politico, March 3, 2016 (Subscription)
    EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy did not draw any firm lines in the sand in a recent letter outlining her agency’s views on several technical but important details, but EPA indicated a clear preference for many aspects of the Senate’s more comprehensive update to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.
  • On Toxic Chemical Bills, Administration Prefers Senate’s
    Congressional Quarterly, March 2, 2016 (Subscription)
    As Congress negotiates over two bipartisan versions of legislation meant to update the nation’s toxic chemical review laws, the Obama administration has backed a vast majority of the Senate’s proposal over the language included in the House measure.
  • Despite Clear Dangers, DuPont Kept Using Toxic Chemical
    The New York Times, January 12, 2016
    The case illustrates the urgent need for Congress to complete its efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, which has allowed tens of thousands of untested chemicals to remain on the market with little more than the manufacturer’s say-so that they are safe. There is strong bipartisan support in Congress to reform the existing law. The frightening DuPont saga is further reason for Congress to choose the strongest possible reform.
  • Senate Approves Bill Giving EPA More Clout on Safety of Chemical
    The Boston Globe, December 18, 2015
    The Senate has passed a much-anticipated bill to revise the federal chemical safety law, which environmentalists have long argued puts the American public at unnecessary risk of exposure to toxic substances.The bill has been in negotiations for more than two years. It finally went to a vote in the Senate on Thursday night and passed with bipartisan support. The bill now heads to a conference committee to be reconciled with a similar measure passed by the House.
  • Senate Finally Passed Chemical Safety Reform: Here’s How they Did It
    The Atlantic, December 18, 2015
    Now, if they can suc­cess­fully nav­ig­ate a con­fer­ence with a House-passed TSCA re­form bill, the product could end dec­ades of work to over­haul the na­tion’s chem­ic­al man­age­ment sys­tem.
  • Udall Says TSCA Reform Can Still Be Passed This Year
    Chemical Watch, December 3, 2015 (Subscription)
    With less then two weeks left in the legislative calendar, supporters of the Senate bill to update the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are still hopeful of passage of the measure, this year…Representative John Shimkus (R-Illinois), who spearheaded the TSCA reform bill in the House, pointed out that his bill passed by a 398-1 vote and added that “the Senate bill has broad, bipartisan support as well. After the Senate works through its process, I remain optimistic that we can come together to resolve our policy differences and get TSCA reform signed into law this Congress.”
  • Sen. Whitehouse Praises Toxic Chemicals Protection Bill
    The Providence Journal, October 14, 2015
    The Toxic Substances Control Act was designed to protect the public from dangerous chemicals in consumer products. But in the nearly four decades since its passage in 1976, only nine chemicals out of the 83,000 or so in use have been restricted under the law, according to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Speaking at a news conference in Providence on Wednesday, the Rhode Island Democrat described the law as “ineffectual” and hailed legislation in the works in the Senate that would give the Environmental Protection Agency greater authority and funding to test chemicals and regulate those that could pose a risk.
  • Toxics Bill Hits Barrier on Glide Through Senate
    Morning Consult, October 8, 2015
    A bill to improve the regulation of toxic chemicals is on the cusp of passing in the Senate, supported by a bipartisan group of unlikely allies who are giddy at the prospect of finally reforming a 40-year old law. The Senate is expected to move to vote on the bill soon. With 60 co-sponsors, passage is a sure thing. But this week the bill was slowed down by senators hoping to attach other amendments.
  • Late Senator’s Effort May Finally Pay Off
    The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 7, 2015
    A bipartisan group of senators has won enough support to advance a bill Frank Lautenberg long championed to tighten the oversight of chemicals in everyday products, moving toward a posthumous capstone for the New Jersey Democrat’s long Senate career.
  • Groups push for Senate vote on chemical safety
    The Hill, September 16, 2015
    “We have joined together to fix things like car seats, second-hand smoke, lead in gasoline and lead in paint,” Dominique Browning, co-founder and senior director of the Moms Clean Air Force, said Wednesday. “We now have over half the Senate involved as co-sponsors. It’s really time for us to move.”
  • Congress is Finally Poised to Rethink Outdated US Chemical Law
    The Guardian, August 25, 2015
    Mounting confusion over chemical safety has created an unlikely coalition pushing for reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the federal law governing chemicals policy. Unlike most other environmental laws, TSCA hasn’t been significantly amended since it was passed in 1976. But now, after years of debate and inaction, Congress is poised to rewrite the law. Republicans and Democrats, along with environmentalists, the chemical industry, consumer product brands and retailers all say that the US needs a regulatory system that will restore consumer confidence in the safety of the products on store shelves.
  • Chemical Safety Bill is Long Overdue
    Albuquerque Journal, August 1, 2015
    Nearly 40 years ago, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act with the intent of protecting our communities and environment from harmful toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, the law as written hasn’t worked. It hasn’t even been able to protect us from chemicals that we all agree are harmful, like asbestos. An overhaul is more than overdue… “The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” aims to improve the process by which chemicals are evaluated and controlled to protect human health, the environment and wildlife from those that are most harmful. It improves the current statute by ensuring the safety of chemicals is determined through sound, data-driven scientific analysis, rather than based on cost or other factors.It would prioritize the evaluation – and anticipated market phase-out – of the most dangerous chemicals. And, this bill would help prevent new toxic chemicals from entering the marketplace when they are predicted to be unsafe.
  • Congressional Couches Test Positive for Toxic Flame Retardant
    Roll Call July 30, 2015
    As Congress considers an overhaul of toxic chemical regulations, a new analysis has brought the issue close to home — perhaps a little too close for comfort. “It’s crazy to think that there are toxic chemicals in the very furniture we’re sitting on while working to update America’s chemical safety law,” Sen. Tom Udall D-N.M., said in a statement. A couch from his office in the Hart Senate Office Building tested positive for TDCPP, along with couches from the Rayburn and Cannon House Office Buildings.
  • Time for Oversight of Dangerous Chemicals
    Washington Post July 19, 2015
    The government is failing at protecting the public from dangerous chemicals. Congress tried to regulate the various questionable substances that manufacturers and industry use to produce the products Americans buy. But the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act failed. Stuck with a lousy law, the Environmental Protection Agency moved slowly, and in 1991 a federal appeals court threw out the agency’s attempt to ban asbestos. The EPA has managed to ban only five chemicals since the 1970s, while thousands of others stay on the market with no review. We say “thousands” because it’s not even clear how many are out there. Congress has done little since to fix the problem.Until now. After decades of lax oversight, Congress is nearly done with a comprehensive overhaul of the law — but Washington will finish the job only if lawmakers and the interests pressuring them don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.
  • This is How a Bill Used to Become a Law
    USA Today July 15, 2015
    Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, disagree on the Iran nuclear deal and a range of other issues. But they have achieved something rare these days: Negotiated a compromise on a complicated bill that now commands bipartisan support and is poised to pass the Senate, perhaps this month.The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act overhauls a 40-year-old law that regulates toxic chemicals. By some measures, it would be the most far-reaching environmental bill enacted since the Clean Air Act in 1990.
  • Thank you Senator Whitehouse
    July 6, 2015
    Thank you ads for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and other supporters of chemical safety reform ran in 5 states.
  • How scary are the chemicals around you? June 24, 2015
    Chemicals are a ubiquitous presence in our lives. Given this reality, most Americans are astonished to find out how little we truly know about many chemicals’ effect on human health. Chemicals are all around us — in our homes, our workplaces, our schools and the environment. They’re fundamental to items as complex as our automobiles and computers and as simple as a scented candle. They play a central role in medical equipment and keep our clothes from wrinkling and staining. Yet, of the over 80,000 chemicals in major production and use, only a tiny fraction have ever been studied thoroughly for their effects on human health. It’s time for that to change.
  • Our toxic status quo doesn’t protect us
    Washington Post, May 1, 2015
    “The fundamental difficulty, and the reason I’m writing about this topic today, is the ineffectiveness of a 1976 law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, that was supposed to regulate such materials. When the law was passed, some 60,000 chemicals were listed as being in use in household or industrial products. Since then, the EPA has only been able to require testing on just over 200; only five have been banned or even restricted… Here’s the good news: An astonishing bipartisan coalition of senators, assembled by David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), is pushing an overhaul of the law, the culmination of a decade-long effort launched by the late senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).”
  • New TSCA draft from Udall, Vitter lures more liberal support
    Politico, April 27, 2015 (Subscription only)
    “We now have a historic opportunity to update and improve the law, and I believe the agreement announced today will help give American families peace of mind that everyday products we rely on are safe,” Whitehouse said in a statement contained in a news release with Udall, Merkley and Booker late Monday afternoon.”
  • A Bipartisan Push on Toxic Chemicals Makes Some Democrats Fume: A measure to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority provokes hyperbolic objections on the left
    Bloomberg Businessweek, March 27, 2015
    “The old law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, has an egregious loophole allowing thousands of untested chemicals, including some known health hazards, to remain in widely marketed products. If the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to test a chemical, it has to jump through an array of hoops seemingly designed to discourage the most nimble of bureaucrats.”
  • Don’t let another generation grow up under a failed toxics law
    The Hill, March 18, 2015
    There is a human cost to inaction. Since TSCA passed in 1976, 149 million babies were born in this country, half of them after 1994. An estimated 3% of these babies had birth defects and more than 10% were born preterm. Since 1976, 86 million people in the US died, more than half of these after 1994; around 25% of these death were due to cancer.”
  • Our view: Bipartisanship means that all sides give
    Santa Fe New Mexican, March 14, 2015
    “With compromise, all sides must give. Udall’s work ensures that the foundation is there for solid, workable legislation that will keep people safer and better regulate dangerous chemicals. With some 1,500 chemicals finding their way into the marketplace each year — 80,000 are already here — this legislation needs to pass.”
  • The US is finally about to update its toxic chemical protections, after 39 years
    Quartz, April 29, 2015
    “[I]t is a national scandal that the United States’ primary chemical safety law hasn’t been updated since the day it was enacted, back when America’s No. 1 song was “Disco Duck” and appointment TV meant “Charlie’s Angels.” Since the day it passed in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) hasn’t protected anyone. The chemicals in products you buy at the store—from clothes to couches to cleaning supplies—are essentially untested and unregulated.”