Congress is considering a new revision to the Toxic Substance Control Act, the law that determines how hazardous chemicals are managed and registered in the U.S. The TSCA was passed in 1976, and has not bee revised since its enactment. The current law covers 62,000 chemicals, but since its passing another 20,000 chemicals have been introduced by industry.
The revision, a bill called the, “Kids Safe Chemical Act,” seeks to update the law to provide tougher controls on chemicals that people come into contact with. The new act would require the following: that industrial chemicals be safe for infants, kids and other vulnerable groups; requires that new chemicals be safety tested before they are sold; requires chemical manufacturers to test and prove that the 62,000 chemicals already on the market that have never been tested are safe in order for them to remain in commerce; requires EPA to review “priority” chemicals, those which are found in people, on an expedited schedule; requires regular biomonitoring to determine what chemicals are in people and in what amounts; requires regular updates of health and safety data and provides EPA with clear authority to request additional information and tests; provides incentives for manufacturers to further reduce health hazards;requires EPA to promote safer alternatives and alternatives to animal testing; protects state and local rights; and requires that this information be publicly available. The one area of the revision that needs to be strengthened is the alternative to animal testing. There is no need to animal test to determine hazardous impact on people. This part of the bill should clearly ban animal testing. Animal testing is a thing of the past. Today, even the National Academy of Sciences, the governments own arm, states that in vitro testing suffices to predict toxicity impact on human systems. This bill is long over due. We are all walking chemical time bombs. Over the years of our lives we have ingested, and been exposed to chemicals. Not enough research has been done on the 62,000 chemicals the act originally was meant to cover, on the impact these chemicals have to human health. The new act would correct this, and perhaps finally provide us with answers to what exactly we should be or not be concerned about.