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Welcome to PSR's Environmental Health Policy Institute, where we ask questions -- then we ask the experts to answer them. Join us as physicians, health professionals, and environmental health experts share their ideas, inspiration, and analysis about toxic chemicals and environmental health policy.

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ACPM Statement on Reform of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976

By the American College of Preventive Medicine

This essay is in response to: Public Health and the Safe Chemicals Act

1/2/2012 - The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) strongly supports modernization of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. ACPM seeks to improve health through evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion. An increasingly important mediator of health status is the growing number of toxic chemicals in the environment (e.g. lead, mercury, asbestos, benzene, PCBs, and other persistent organic and inorganic pollutants) which can cause central nervous system damage, cancers and reproductive problems.

Although TSCA as currently enacted allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to ban, limit and regulate chemicals that it finds toxic, TSCA places the burden of establishing chemical safety with the U.S. EPA and not with the manufacturers of potentially toxic substances. Although approximately 700 new chemicals are introduced into commerce each year, TSCA does not require that chemical manufacturers evaluate these new chemicals for safety. Furthermore, EPA procedures to obtain chemical test data from manufacturers can take years. In short, TSCA does not provide the EPA with the means to obtain adequate, timely information necessary to make safety determinations on the hundreds of chemicals that Americans are exposed to every day. The mandate for this grows, as the chemical trespass of persistent organic pollutants found in infants and breast milk expands, and our capacity to detect and track these pollutants similarly progresses.

ACPM, as physicians concerned with promoting the best possible human health, supports the need to overhaul TSCA to provide adequate information to both federal regulatory agencies and medical practitioners, as well as protection for our patients and our communities. Only a comprehensively reformed TSCA that emphasizes protection of the publics’ health and the environment, can do this effectively and efficiently.

Comments

Marsha said ..

Please let me know any way I can to help reduce or eliminate the use of toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, fabric softener and chemicals used in everyday products. Thank you for your efforts.

January 16, 2012
Linda C said ..

The manufacturers produce and profit from these chemicals and therefore should be responsible for proving their safety before they are introduced.

January 8, 2012

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