Yesterday, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Reps. Hilda L. Solis (D- Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced long-awaited legislation to protect Americans, especially children, from toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. The bill would reform the nation's current outdated law governing chemicals, The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA.)

From Sen. Lautenberg: 

"Every day, consumers rely on household products that contain hundreds of chemicals. The American public expects the federal government to keep families safe by testing chemicals — but the government is letting them down. We already have strong regulations for pesticides and pharmaceuticals — it’s common sense that we do the same for chemicals that end up in household items such as bottles and toys.”
The legislation, called the "Kid Safe Chemical Act," would establish stringent safety standard for each chemical on the market. It would also shift the burden for proving chemicals are safe from the EPA to the chemical manufacturers. Under the bill, the manufacturers would have to provide the EPA the data necessary to determine if a chemical is safe.  
The Kid Safe Chemicals Act is a major milestone in the fight to protect kids from chemicals. For example, the current chemicals law (TSCA), requires the EPA to test only a few hundred of the 62,000 chemicals that have been on the market since Congress adopted the law 34 years ago. That number has since grown to 80,000 chemicals, and the EPA has only partially restricted five of those chemicals. The Kid Safe Chemicals Act would give new authority to the EPA to restrict the use of chemicals which fail to meet the EPA’s safety standards.

The bill, of course, is not perfect. In fact there are three major flaws that could undermine its overall impact:

  1. It allows new chemicals to enter the market and be used in products for many years without first requiring companies to show the substances are safe. 
  2. It doesn’t provide clear authority for the EPA to immediately restrict production and use of the most dangerous chemicals, even those that have been extensively studied and are restricted by governments around the world.
  3. It doesn’t require the EPA to adopt the National Academy of Sciences’ recommendations to incorporate the best and latest science when determining the safety of chemicals. The Senate bill simply calls on the EPA to "consider" those recommendations

Still, despite these flaws, the Kid Safe Chemicals Act is the strongest bill yet towards ensuring that kids get better protection from the chemicals used to make the products that surround them.