Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Response to Safe Chemicals Act

I sent an email last week to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), asking about her views on the Safe Chemicals Act, which is being championed by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Here's the reply I received yesterday from Gillibrand; it contains a lot of positives, including her desire that the "chemical industry . . . assume the burden of safety of their products." In addition, the second paragraph sums up the health and economic issues at play

(Click here to find out your Senators' views on the Chemicals Act.)

Dear Rob,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Safe Chemicals Act and your desire to reform the outdated Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). I share your view that TSCA is in need of reform. Protecting Americans, notably vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly, from dangerous toxins is one of my central legislative priorities.

Modernizing our nation's chemical management system will have direct human health and economic benefits across New York. Environmental contaminants are being linked to the ongoing rise in chronic disease, asthma, learning disabilities, and reproductive problems; leading to costly missed days of work and school and prolonged hospital stays. The modernization of our national toxic chemicals policy will not only save lives, improve health, and raise the standard of living for all Americans, but would also save tremendous amounts of money, boosting our economy.

I support Senator Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act, and it is a good starting point from which to address TSCA reform, but I feel that there are some key changes that need to be made to ensure that Americans are sufficiently protected from these dangerous chemicals. At the core of TSCA modernization, I believe that new regulatory laws should: require the chemical industry to assume the burden of safety of their products, ensure that safety standards protect vulnerable populations, promote greater interagency coordination, and develop criteria to ensure that chemicals posing the greatest human health hazard are given priority attention.

I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Lautenberg and my other colleagues in Congress to develop a chemicals management system that removes unsafe consumer products and toxic chemicals from commerce, and ensures they do not find their way into our homes and school. As a Member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee I am in a unique position to advance strong policies to modernize our national toxic substances control policy, and I look forward to working on these important issues in the 112th Congress.

Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely yours,
Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator

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