U.S. Senator Tom Udall hosted moms, kids, and children's health and safety advocates at an organic children's clothing store to illustrate how important it is for Congress to pass Udall's landmark bipartisan chemical safety reform bill. The legislation would overhaul the current broken law and finally protect the most vulnerable members of our society - especially pregnant women and infants. Udall held the event, titled "Toys, Tots and TSCA," at Indigo Baby, a shop for organic and natural products for pregnancy, infancy and childhood.
Udall was joined by Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales, who delivered a proclamation declaring June 3 "Toxic Substance Safety Day." Udall's "leadership and willingness to take on this difficult issue has led to a bill that will give the Environmental Protection Agency real utility and power in regulating some of the most dangerous and commonly used chemicals ... and make children and families in Santa Fe safer every single day," the proclamation reads. A copy is available on Twitter here.
Udall thanked Mayor Gonzales for the city's support. "Moms shouldn't have to wonder whether the furniture, bedding, toys, clothing and household products around us are putting them at risk. Parents are busy with families and work, they don't have time to do complicated research to make sure the things they buy for their kids are safe," Udall said. "Our existing law is so broken, the EPA hasn't even been able to regulate asbestos. That's why I'm working hard to overhaul the law and put a cop on the beat to restrict the use of hazardous chemicals if they pose a risk. We're just steps away from enacting this bipartisan bill so we can finally ensure our children are safe."
Most Americans believe that when they buy products at the hardware store or the grocery store, the government has tested them and determined that they're safe. But that has never been the case because our 1976 chemical safety law - the Toxic Substances Control Act - has been broken from the start and was further gutted by a 1991 court decision. In 40 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been able to regulate just a handful of the 85,000 chemicals in commerce, even though some have been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses. Udall's bill would ensure that for the first time, the EPA will have the authority and the resources to evaluate for safety the hundreds of new chemicals made each year before they go to market. And it would require the EPA to evaluate the tens of thousands of chemicals already in use, starting with the most hazardous, such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, and BPA. These chemicals are found in sofas and other furniture, non-iron shirts, pressed wood floors, credit card receipts, and many common household items.
Udall wrote the bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, with U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.). Named for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a champion for public health and safety, a final agreement on the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week by a vote of 403-12. It is expected to pass the Senate soon, and the White House has indicated that the president will sign it into law.
Today's event was Udall's second this week to highlight the importance of TSCA reform for New Mexico families. On Tuesday, he held an event focused on household products and safety at Albuquerque's Southwest Green Home Center, a business devoted to selling home and building products free of hazardous chemicals. He was joined by representatives from the building trades, the March of Dimes, Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, moms and experts on health and safety, including Dr. Cheryl Willman of the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, and Caroline Scruggs of UNM's School of Architecture and Planning. [press release]