Letter from the Chair, July 2016


Hello COTE Community!

In all of the happenings of the month you may have missed this one item. On June 22, 2016, President Obama said “Here in America, folks should have the confidence to know that the laundry detergent we buy isn’t going to make us sick, the mattresses our babies sleep on aren’t going to harm them” and signed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA) into law. This provided, for the first time in decades, a much-needed reform to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The original Act was meant to have the EPA assure Americans that the products we buy and use every day were free of toxicants and harmful chemicals. Today, out of almost 85,000 registered chemicals, the EPA has only reviewed a few hundred and only banned five. And even asbestos, a known carcinogen, isn’t one of those five. TSCA absolutely needed to be reformed. LCSA provides many improvements, including allowing the EPA to prioritize reviews of PBTs and other chemicals based on risk. But there are also many shortcomings. For example, in an effort to create a uniform national standard, LCSA removes the abilities of states to add their own restrictions on potentially hazardous chemicals after EPA begins its reviews, which could take years. As Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stated, “federal chemical regulations should be a floor from which states are allowed to go above, rather than a ceiling they cannot exceed.” I support LCSA as a first step towards providing the transparency and safety that we’ve been working for in products. Let’s hope it can avoid the loopholes and red tape that so completely stymied the TSCA.

Thanks for reading,