As strange as it may seem, although pesticides and pharmaceuticals are tested before being put on the market, many industrial chemicals found in every day products have not been tested for safety. That means your detergents may have chemicals that are bad for you. Similarly, flame retardants put on textiles, like your comfy couch or pajamas, may contain dangerous chemicals. No one knows.
“Regulators, doctors, environmentalists and the chemical industry agree that the country’s main safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, needs fixing. It’s the only major environmental statute whose core provisions have not been reauthorized or substantively updated since its adoption in the 1970s.” (The New York Times, April 13, 2013
Right now very few industrial chemicals undergo safety testing and the burden usually falls to the Environmental Protection Agency to do so with very limited resources, rather than the company who wishes to produce any given product. Last month, Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey and New York Senator Gillibrand introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013. This would require the chemical industry to demonstrate that a chemical is safe in order for it to be sold. With so many chemicals (over 84,000) on the EPA’s inventory, guidelines have been established to focus on priority chemicals, with the manufacturers responsible for testing for safety.
Green Faith, the non-profit organization that Temple Sholom is working with for our new environmental initiative, Eco Chavura, supports the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 (see http://greenfaith.org/programs/environmental-justice/toxics-policy-advocacy). We are collecting signatures indicating our support for the Safe Chemicals Act to move out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote before the current congressional session ends. As such, we need your signature BEFORE June 1, 2013. Please go to the following link and add your name to the growing list of citizens that support TSCA reform legislation: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/greenfaith/survey.jsp?surveyId=60
As stated in the act:
“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found more than 212 industrial chemicals in Americans’ bodies, including six known carcinogens and dozens linked to cancer, birth defects, and other diseases.”
If you care about your health and the health of your family and environment, please sign the petition and share this information with others. Together we can make a difference!
Karen Lewis is a member of Eco Chavurah. She holds Master’s degrees in business and public policy which she has used in both her professional and personal lives. Her goal this summer is to start composting.