Those of us with allergies are more susceptible to poisons and reactions to chemicals than the general public. So I would like to expand from allergies to a wider problem for all families.
Environmental and public health groups are worried that the chemicals in consumer products need to be more carefully regulated. In 1976 the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) became law. This law was supposed to be the answer to all our concerns about dangerous new chemicals. It has fallen very short of its anticipated goals.
Since 1976, the number of chemicals in commercial products has increased from 60,000 to 80,000, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only required testing on 200 and restricted five. According to the TSCA chemicals are presumed safe unless proven otherwise. This is a major weakness of the Act. The burden of proving the chemicals unsafe is expensive and not popular with major industry and their lobbyists. The process can be greatly influenced by political pressures.
The Safe Chemicals Act (SCA), which was recently introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.,N.J.) would give the EPA greater authority to control new chemicals as well as those now in use. Manufacturers would be required to prove the chemicals in their products are safe. But how much incentive would manufacturing companies have, to admit that the products they are developing may not be totally safe. How can the safety of a single chemical be determined when consumers are confronted with a barrage of chemicals in daily life which may interact unfavorably with the new chemical?
The Safe Chemicals Act may once again fall to political pressure and greed. How can we as consumers protect ourselves from harmful chemicals? How do you think science and progress can best be monitored and controlled to protect our health? Please comment on my Allergy Discussion Forum, I’d love to hear what you think.