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New Legislation Would Ban Dangerous PBTs

Posted by Kathy Attar, MPH on July 31, 2014

Dr. Susan Katz, Oregon PSR board President, provided the medical voice at a recent press conference announcing a new bill to phase out the worst of the worst toxic chemicals. The bill, “Protecting America’s Families from Toxic Chemicals Act of 2014,” S. 2656, was introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon to ban persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs).

PBTs are chemicals that persist in the environment -- they don’t break down. They also build up in the food chain, often concentrating in fatty tissue and in breast milk.  And they are known to cause serious health problems such as cancer, endocrine disruption, learning disabilities, and reproductive health problems. Unfortunately, our current federal chemical laws do not protect us from these and other highly toxic chemicals. Since its passage in 1976, the Toxics Substances Control Act has restricted only five substances. Senator Merkley’s bill would phase out known PBT chemicals, including asbestos, heavy metals such lead and mercury, and brominated fire retardants.  These dangerous chemicals are found in our homes, workplaces and neighborhoods.

Learn more about the health impacts of toxics chemicals by reading our factsheets: toxic chemicals in our food, environmental threats to brain development, and prenatal exposure to toxic chemicals.

Get involved in the fight to protect our health from toxic chemicals by letting your area policymakers know you support legislation that reduces exposures to toxic chemicals like the “Protecting America’s Families from Toxic Chemicals Act”.

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