Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg officially introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer, Amy Klobuchar and Charles Schumer, the aim of the Safe Chemicals Act is to update the way America looks at and regulates chemicals. The act would update the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act, which has done little over the years to protect Americans and the environment from chemicals. Here's a look at a video released by Lautenberg on the introduction of the act:

The Safe Chemicals Act would go a long way toward protecting Americans from chemicals before they are linked to health and environmental issues. Specifically, it would:

  • Require the EPA to identify and restrict the "worst of the worst" chemicals.  
  • Require basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for entering or remaining on the market.
  • Upgrade scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals.
  • Arm the EPA with the tools and resources it needs to restrict chemicals that pose health and environmental concerns.
It may not seem like much, but it's shocking to me that these parameters are not already in place. Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Health Families — a coalition of 280 health, environmental and business groups — had this to say about The Safe Chemicals Act:

"The whole world has woken up to the ragged holes in our federal safety net for chemicals. We need a new law to put common-sense limits on toxic chemicals both to protect American families, and to give a leg up to American firms in a world market that increasingly demands safer products."

So now that the act has been introduced, what can you do to ensure that it passes? Contact your senators and make sure that they are on board (and know that you are on board) with legislation to update chemical regulation. Plug your ZIPcode into the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families page to find out where to send your email of support.