Monday, April 25, 2011

Pediatricians Call for Overhaul of TSCA Chemical Law

Industry, NGOs and States have all offered their reaction to Senator Lautenberg's introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.  And now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for "an overhaul of the nation’s chemical management policy."  According to the AAP, "the current system fails to protect children and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable to hazardous chemical exposures."

The AAP notes that the current chemical control law – the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – has "not undergone any meaningful revision since it was first passed in 1976, and since then, the TSCA has been used to regulate only five chemicals or chemical classes."  The organization, which includes 60,000 pediatricians as members, published a policy statement in the May 2011 issue of Pediatrics that calls for chemical control policy in the US to be “substantially revised” to "consider the consequences on children and their families." Among the AAP's recommendations:
  • The regulation of chemicals must be based on evidence, but decisions to ban chemicals should be based on reasonable levels of concern rather than demonstrated harm. 
  • Any testing of chemicals should include the impact on women and children, including potential effects on reproduction and development.
  • Chemicals should meet safety standards similar to those met by pharmaceuticals or pesticide residues on food.
  • There should be post-marketing surveillance of chemicals, and the EPA must have the authority to remove a chemical if needed.
  • Federal funding should be provided for research to prevent, identify and evaluate the effects of chemicals on children’s health.
The policy statement can be found here.

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