The Road to Toxic Chemical Reform

While these changes won't transform consumer goods overnight, this new law harnesses the power of transparency, expanding information about chemicals and generating more incentives for companies to invest in safer chemicals when designing products.

Finally. A chemical law 40 years past its freshness date is reformed. The result? A future where families, schools, and workplaces are better protected from dangerous chemicals in their homes and elsewhere.

It took decades of hard work, perseverance, and unlikely partnerships to pass the Lautenberg Act, requiring all new chemicals entering the marketplace to first clear a safety bar. The Environmental Protection Agency will have new authorities to require testing. And it will finally have a legal mandate to review existing chemicals on the market.

While these changes won't transform consumer goods overnight, this new law harnesses the power of transparency, expanding information about chemicals and generating more incentives for companies to invest in safer chemicals when designing products. The new law puts in place a purely health-based standard by which chemicals will be judged. And, as companies continue to work to meet rising consumer expectations about the safety, health and sustainability of products, this new law will provide a strong foundation to build upon and expand efforts for generations to come.

In a current climate of toxic politics, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) found a way to create bipartisan commitment to forge a solution to the dangerously outdated Toxic Substances Control Act. See how EDF used sound science and relentless pragmatism to drive a healthier environment for people and planet: A timeline of reform.

Jack Pratt is the Chemicals Campaign director for EDF. Contact him at 202-572-3369, jpratt@edf.org, 257 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010.

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