Safer States, a national coalition of state-based environmental health organizations, has released an analysis which indicates that some 26 states will consider policies to address concerns over toxic chemicals in consumer products in 2013. According to the coalition, 19 states have adopted more than 93 chemical safety policies during the past decade and, the coalition expects that number to increase as more people realize that “federal handling of toxic chemicals is so flawed.”
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—the law that “oversees” toxic chemical regulation on the federal level—is now 37 years old and does not, according to the coalition, “even require basic health and safety data on chemicals before they are used in products.” In 2011, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation that would have overhauled TSCA, but the bill did not pass. The coalition expects that it will be reintroduced in 2013.
Safer States National Director Sarah Doll stated, “With more studies showing increased exposure to toxic or untested chemicals in our homes, citizens are demanding action at the state level. Stronger state laws not only benefit public health, but the marketplace, too, by restoring consumer’s confidence that products in stores are safe. We urge state legislators across the country to continue leading on these critical public health protections.”
Some of the legislation and policy changes that Safer States reports will be considered include (i) restricting or labeling the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in cash register receipts, children’s products and food packaging; (ii) requiring removal of certain toxic flame retardants, including the purported carcinogen “Tris,” from children’s products, home furnishings and building materials; (iii) changing disclosure rules to give concerned consumers a way to identify chemicals in products; (iv) encouraging manufacturers to substitute potentially toxic chemicals with safer alternatives; (v) banning cadmium, an allegedly dangerous metal often found in inexpensive children’s jewelry; (vi) banning formaldehyde from cosmetics and children’s products; and (vii) promoting the use of green cleaning products in schools.