Rep. Peters Supports Passage of Toxic Substances Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), a formal environmental lawyer, helped pass the largest overhaul in national chemical safety laws in 40 years. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Modernization Act updates an outdated and broken law that has been panned by business and environmental groups alike and is largely blamed for preventing the ban of dangerous chemicals like asbestos. The proposal passed today empowers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better test for and ban potentially harmful chemicals in consumer products, while streamlining the process to give industry more certainty when they are trying to take a product to market. Peters’ first job out of college was as an economist in the Office of Toxic Substances at the EPA. After voting in favor of the bill, which passed on a broadly bipartisan 403-12 vote, Rep. Peters released the following statement:
“My first job after graduating college was working as an economist at the EPA’s Office of Toxic Substances, created under TSCA. Then, and throughout my career as an environmental lawyer, I saw firsthand how our flawed toxic chemical laws endangered public health and subjected business owners to a patchwork of regulatory systems.
“Parents should not have to worry that the materials used to build their home or make their clothes are putting their family’s health at risk. By requiring affirmative proof that a substance is safe before it enters the market, this measure puts public health first. Under a more transparent and effective system, the EPA will be able to immediately take action to test chemicals that are common in our lives and known to be dangerous to our health.
“In a Congress that has been gridlocked and unable to even pass a budget, I am glad to see members from both parties come together to negotiate this proposal to protect public health. We didn’t get everything we want, but that is how compromise works, and the American public will be better off because of it.”
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Preserving California’s Proposition 65 warning and labeling law to notify Californians about dangerous amounts of chemicals in products;
- Requiring the EPA to evaluate new and existing chemicals against a new risk-based safety standard that includes an emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women;
- Establishing clear and enforceable deadlines to ensure the timely review of chemicals and timely action on identified risks;
- Prioritizing action on some of the most dangerous chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.
Congressman Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the City of San Diego. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Judiciary Committee. The Congressman is a former environmental attorney, City Council President, and Port Commission Chairman.