Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) 40 years ago to protect human heath from toxic chemicals. But the law “grandfathered” in roughly 60,000 chemicals already in use at the time for continued use. TSCA also gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limited power to require evidence of safety for newly manufactured chemicals.
Today, there are more than 85,000 synthetic chemicals approved for use in the U.S. And the EPA approves more than 600 new chemicals each year. Several states have tried to take the matter into their own hands, but as I’ll explain in a moment, a new federal bill could handcuff their ability to restrict chemicals at the state level.
Meanwhile, increasing lab and clinical evidence demonstrates that synthetic chemicals contribute to dysfunction and disease across the human lifespan — from conception to old age. These chemicals also disrupt plant ecology, fish and wildlife.
Emerging evidence also suggests that chemicals disrupt hormonal processes associated with obesity, Type II diabetes, neurological abnormalities, development disabilities, infertility, and cancers such as breast and prostate. In Europe, which appears to have better data on chemical toxicity, experts estimate that diseases due to hormone-disrupting chemicals cause $209 billion in medical costs per year.
Yet, the crony capitalist federal government and the EPA continue to dither about with their politically correct agendas that only remotely relate to the clear and present dangers of synthetic chemicals. Meanwhile, many states have taken the problem into their own hands and stepped up to protect their citizens. In fact, over the past 10 years, many states have increasingly restricted the use of chemicals that cause the greatest harms and disruptions to health.
For example, Washington state banned flame-retardant chemicals shown to disrupt thyroid hormone and cognitive function in multiple longitudinal birth cohort studies. Multiple states also banned bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and cups because evidence links exposure to obesity, cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Connecticut also banned BPA from thermal paper receipts.
In addition, California, Vermont, and Washington State prevented the introduction of certain phthalate chemicals (used to soften plastics and add artificial scents) in children’s products.
In all, 28 states have introduced or passed legislation to protect their citizens from toxic chemicals. But the federal government stepped in with “updates” and “modifications” to the TSCA legislation, which medical and public health experts fear could limit states’ abilities to protect their citizens. It should come as no surprise that chemical manufacturer lobbyists worked with selected “environmental” organizations and members of Congress to update the TSCA.
Backwards approach to chemical review
The U.S. House of Representatives version of the new bill maintains the current, much-criticized stance that presumes new chemicals are safe, unless evidence emerges that they cause health risks. The House’s bill also requires substantial evidence of harm prior to requiring review of the safety of existing chemicals.
The Senate version of the bill is a bit hazy itself regarding the new safety criteria.
Both versions of the bill require testing of only five chemicals by the EPA per year, funded by a combination of industry fees and tax dollars. (Remind you of the FDA anyone?) At that rate, it will take hundreds of years to review all the toxic chemicals already in out in the world.
New bill handcuffs states’ authority
On the upside, both versions of the new bill require manufacturers share information with health professionals regarding medical care. The old law allowed manufacturers to keep it secret. Chemical makers recently used such so-called “confidential business information” claims to withhold findings about “liver and kidney toxicity, potential persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic characteristics; and potential carcinogenicity” of a widely used brominated fire retardant.
However, in exchange for these new regulations, both the House and Senate bills insist on limiting states’ authority. And the House version, which passed before the Senate version, more strongly restricts state authority.
The new TSCA bill could also prevent additional congressional actions to limit chemical exposures. It could also limit the states’ abilities to do so.
In my view, the new TSCA federal legislation will produce more bureaucracy and costs that restrict the rights of states to protect their citizens. As always, big crony capitalist government is bad for your health.
The only real solution at this point is to take your health into your own hands…
- Stay away from chemicals in your food by buying organic.
- Don’t consume chemical-laden “soft drinks.”
- Drink water bottled “at the source” of natural springs and aquifers. (I told you about the benefits of natural spring water last July in my Insiders’ Cures If you a newsletter subscriber, you can access this article on my website, www.drmicozzi.com, with your username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)
- Don’t use toxic sunscreens and other lotions, potions, and pastes applied to your skin or hair.
The federal government won’t protect you from these harmful chemicals. But common sense and a careful eye on ingredients labels will.
Big government is too busy “protecting” us from sunshine, herbal remedies, dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, and natural plant products. The only thing you can count on the EPA to really protect is their jobs.