WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Oct 25, 2013) - Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Seventh Generation's CEO John Replogle convened a panel discussion on why the current law governing chemicals in the United States -- the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) -- needs to be updated.
Panelists included Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition, Nancy Buermeyer, Senior Policy Strategist for the Breast Cancer Fund and David Levine, Co-Founder and CEO, American Sustainable Business Council. The event was moderated by Kate Sheppard, Senior Reporter and Environment and Energy Editor at Huffington Post.
"Seventh Generation has been working passionately for years to eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals that harm human health, and right now, our nation's laws on chemical safety aren't working," said Replogle. "The facts about chemicals in our environment, and in our bodies, are staggering. I'm here today as the CEO of Seventh Generation, but also as a father. As a country, we are allowing the lack of regulation on chemicals to literally poison our children."
"When parents and families, and companies, stand up to demand change, like we are today, we will embolden our elected officials to have the moral courage to act," continued Replogle. "No one should have to worry about toxic chemicals in their personal care and other household cleaning products. This is not radical. And it's not a Republican or a Democratic issue. It's just common sense."
Although consumers might assume that chemicals in their household products are tested for safety, the reality is that they are not. According to the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition, over 80,000 chemicals have been approved for use since TSCA became law and only about 200 have these have been tested for safety over the last 37 years. What's worse, the current law allows nearly 20 percent of these chemicals to remain secret, and consumers are unaware of them all together.
Introduced this year by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), would update regulations on toxic chemicals and incentivize companies to work with federal regulators on testing and disclosure. "As it stands, the Lautenberg-Vitter bill is a step in the right direction toward updating our outdated and minimal standards of regulation. Still, aspects of the bill must be strengthened before it is passed. In conjunction with our partners, including today's panelists, we've identified some areas where the bill needs to be improved, to ensure that the most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and children, are protected," said Replogle.
The lack of oversight is having a real, tangible effect on people, impacting our health and wellness. Chronic disease trends are on the rise.
"A growing body of scientific evidence links chemical exposure to a wide range of serious diseases and draws attention to the urgent need to reform how chemicals are managed in the United States. It is urgent and essential that we create a chemicals management system that protects us all," said Buermeyer. "By passing legislation to bring the toxics law into the 21st century, we will not only reduce disease incidence and health care costs, we will also achieve unquantifiable 'human savings,' as we will prevent countless families from having to confront the suffering and death of loved ones."
One example is the growing number of American children with learning and developmental disabilities, which reached nearly one in six by 2008. Researchers have found an association between levels of PBDE flame retardants in the cord blood of babies and delays in mental and physical development. Additionally, the widespread use of phthalates in consumer products has resulted in nearly universal contamination of people's bodies, including breast milk, umbilical cord blood, and amniotic fluid. Many phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to changes in sex hormone levels, obesity, reduced female fertility, preterm birth and low birth weight, a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms, and altered toddler behavior.
"The paramount importance is that reform truly protects the public from the toxic chemicals that contribute to chronic disease and environmental degradation. Improvements to business confidence will follow if that goal is being met. The current legislation does not meet that test, but we are hopeful it can be improved through negotiations by Senator Boxer and Senator Vitter," said Igrejas.
"Leading companies from retailers to manufacturers are highly motivated to identify and use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. Recent polling by ASBC confirms that today's business leaders are concerned about the health and business impacts of toxic chemicals and value the business benefits of good regulations. We need to make sure that chemical policy reform eliminates hazards, drives transparency and incentivizes innovation and green chemistry," said Levine.
ABOUT SEVENTH GENERATION: Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers baby products that are safe for your children and the planet. The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy that states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, and making the world a better place for this and the next seven generations.
For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit www.seventhgeneration.com.
- John Replogle
- David Levine