HealthyStuff.org

Why We Need HealthyStuff.org

The U.S. government doesn't require full testing of chemicals before they are added to most consumer products. And once they are on the market, the government almost never restricts their use, even in the face of new scientific evidence suggesting a health threat. Because children, adults and pets can be exposed to chemicals from many sources, and because the effects of some chemicals are cumulative, it is important to look at the whole picture concerning chemicals and health. The law that's supposed to do this, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, is outdated, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 2005, the GAO found:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has limited data on existing chemicals including toxicity and exposure information;
  • EPA lacks data to ensure that potential health and environmental risks of new chemicals are identified;
  • Chemical companies are not required to develop and submit toxicity information to EPA unless EPA issues a rule;
  • EPA has used its authority to require testing for fewer than 200 of the 62,000 chemicals in commerce since 1979;
  • For "new" chemicals, EPA estimates that only about 15 percent include health or safety test data; and
  • For existing chemicals, only 5 chemical groups out of 62,000 have been restricted by EPA in 29 years.

For more information on the lack of government regulation of toxic chemicals in products, please see the following reports:

"Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program," U.S. General Accountability Office, June 13, 2005.

"Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California," Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, 2008.

"Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation," California Policy Research Center, 2006.

To send government officials a letter urging them to take action, please see the HealthyStuff.org Take Action page.

For case studies on the chemicals policies of leading companies, see Case Studies of Healthy Business Strategies.

For information on a model chemicals policy for consumer products to adopt, see HealthyStuff.org Alternatives page.

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