Thursday, January 28, 2010

Advocacy Coalition Makes a "Health Case for Reforming TSCA" - The Chemical Control Law in the US

A coalition of nearly 140 diverse health and environmental advocacy groups called Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families issued a report on January 20th called "The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act."

As I've been discussing, most stakeholders agree that some form of modernizing TSCA is inevitable, and necessary. The EPA and various groups representing public advocacy, the chemical industry, and workers have offered their principles for reform. And mostly at the principle level there is good agreement. The details are a bit more contentious.

According to the report, "[t]he Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition believes that, by reforming TSCA, we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, improve our nation’s health, and lower the cost of health care. This report documents some of the scientific findings and economic analysis underlying our position."

The report suggests that "chronic disease is on the rise" and cites increases in leukemia, various cancers, asthma, pregnancy difficulties, birth defects, autism, etc. The report provides a section reviewing each of these diseases. The coalition emphasizes that there are tremendous "health and economic benefits of reforming TSCA" and that estimates of the proportion of disease burden attributable to chemicals ranges widely "from 1% of all disease to 5% of childhood cancer to 10% of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and neurodevelopmental deficits to 30% of childhood asthma." While the group acknowledges that identifying actual cause and effect between chemical exposure and disease is extremely difficult, they emphasize that
"[w]hatever the actual contribution, effective chemical policy reform will incorporate the last 30 years of science to reduce the chemical exposures that contribute to the rising incidence of chronic disease. And any decline in the incidence of chronic diseases can also be expected to bring health care cost savings. Even if chemical policy reform leads to reductions in toxic chemical exposures that translate into just a tenth of one percent reduction of health care costs, it would save the U.S. health care system an estimated $5 billion every year."

A press release can be read here, and the entire report can be downloaded here.

Additional information on TSCA reform can be read here.

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