Toxics in Congress: No Green Light to Dangerous Chemicals
Megan Cronin, Toxics Intern
April 14, 2014
PSR condemned the proposed Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA), saying “CICA fails to reduce exposures to hazardous chemicals in our air, water, and consumer products, and it does nothing to protect the health of vulnerable populations.”
The bill, introduced recently in the U.S. House of Representatives, has a myriad of fatal flaws. It disregards the National Academy of Sciences recommendations for chemical safety, it pre-empts stronger state safety standards, it requires the EPA to consider economic benefit against health and safety, it does not offer protection to vulnerable populations at greater health risk, and it assumes that all chemicals are safe until they undergo an extremely expensive and rigorous process that proves otherwise.
Health professionals would be directly impacted by CICA’s rules about how doctors and other medical providers can care for and advocate for their patients.
Under CICA, if a patient comes to the doctor with a serious injury as a result of chemical exposure, that doctor is prohibited from speaking about it to anyone not involved with diagnosis or treatment.
What if others have been exposed – say, other workers or community members? Do non-toxic alternatives exist? Under CICA, that doctor is not allowed to say a word to the public.
CICA also fails to require ingredient disclosure for most products containing chemicals, meaning doctors and patients would not know what chemicals occur in everyday products and in what quantities. Doctors could not adequately treat patients in the absence of this crucial information that may affect both diagnosis and treatment.
Lastly, since under CICA victims would only be allowed to discuss their injury with healthcare providers, their ability to seek redress in cases of workplace exposure would be hampered. In this sense, CICA not only fails to protect vulnerable workers but actively maintains an unfair imbalance of power between workers and employers.
For these reasons and more, CICA needs to be stopped in its tracks. Join PSR in taking action by writing your representative in Congress today.