Environmental Protection Agency

Category archives for Environmental Protection Agency

Thumbs up and down for House bill to reform toxics law

A draft bill to reform the 40 year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) received bi-partisan unanimous support on May 14 by a House subcommittee. Health and environmental groups say lawmakers are moving in the right direction toward a bill the groups may be able to support.

Senators pushing TSCA reform bill that’s missing the law’s poster child

Public health researchers, agency officials and scholars describe the Toxic Substances Control Act as a defective, outdated law. They often use EPA’s failed effort to ban asbestos as a poster child for the broken law. A TSCA “reform” bill currently has traction in the Senate, but it’s left behind the poster child.

Today, Maine’s legislature held a hearing on the Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace Act, a proposal to require employers to identify harmful chemicals in the workplace and replace them with safer alternatives. It’s the perfect example of state action on behalf of worker safety and exactly the kind of measure that might no longer be possible under two congressional proposals aimed at overhauling the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Labor group outlines significant flaws in chemical reform bill, joins growing list of opponents

The AFL-CIO joins a growing list of organizations which have raised serious concerns—or outright oppose—the Vitter/Udall bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

Introduction of a new TSCA reform bill is expected some time this spring. In the meantime, The Pump Handle takes a look at what’s at stake in TSCA reform and why the outcome matters to those who care about protecting and improving occupational and public health.

Pesticide drift from a pear orchard sickened 20 farmworkers laboring in a neighboring cherry orchard. Many sought care, but the state’s health department wasn’t notified by the workers’ clinicians. It was a newspaper reporter who called authorities. Where were the clinician reports and why are they so important?

If you’re in the market for a paint remover and head to your local hardware store, most of the products you’re likely to find will contain methylene chloride. These products carry hazard warnings that say “Danger!” and “Poison” along with cautionary statements about the chemical’s nervous system effects and the possibility that exposure can cause blindness, birth defects, cancer and respiratory harm. But there’s little – if anything – to suggest such products are so hazardous that they were responsible for at least 14 deaths in the United States between 2000 and 2011. These products are banned in the EU. Are there alternatives and why are they still for sale in the U.S.?

“In the 602 days since the West, Texas tragedy there have been 355 chemical accidents resulting in 79 deaths and 1500 hospitalizations,” said Committee Chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) opening the hearing. “Essentially,” said Boxer, since the West, Texas accident, there’s been a U.S. incident involving hazardous chemicals every other day. “This,” she said, “is absolutely outrageous.”

When compared with gasoline-powered cars, vehicles fueled with electricity from renewable sources could cut air pollution-related deaths by 70 percent, according to a new study, which noted that air pollution is the country’s greatest environmental health threat.