You probably know about the Healthy Toys database because - unlike the feds - those folks actually test toys so parents can buy them with confidence. Plus, we told you about 'em back in December, festive season of toy shopping. In addition to doing the government's work, the good folks behind all this goodness also have a great online action center. Their current campaign calls for Congress to overhaul the 30-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act...of 1976. Yikes, that is old. Almost as old as this mama.
Why overhaul it, you ask? Cuz it's old, mamas. No really. The Healthy Toy folks describe it this way:
The ...Toxic Substances Control Act is outdated, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Because children can be exposed to chemicals from many sources, and the effects of some chemicals are cumulative, it's important to look at the whole picture concerning chemicals and children's health.
In 2005, the GAO found: the U.S. EPA has limited data on existing chemicals including toxicity and exposure information; EPA lacks data to ensure that potential health and environmental risks of new chemicals are identified; Chemical companies are not required to develop and submit toxicity information to EPA unless EPA issues a rule; EPA has used its authority to require testing for fewer than 200 or the 62,000 chemicals in commerce since 1979; For "new" chemicals, "EPA estimates that . . . only about 15 percent include health or safety test data"; Only 5 chemical groups out of 62,000 have been restricted by EPA in 29 years.
Ready to sound the call for overhaul? Good. Send a quick e-mail asking for hearings to update the bill and voila, call sounded. All in a day's work, mamas, all in a day's work. Now about that laundry...
Here's what your e-letter will ask for:
- Require complete health and safety testing on chemicals used in products and industry before they are put on the market, and make the information publicly available in order to protect the public and workers who handle these chemicals.
- Phase out the most dangerous chemicals, especially those that are showing up in newborn babies. The use of chemicals that can cause cancer, hormone disruption, nervous system problems, reproductive problems or other serious hazards should be prohibited. When a safer alternative exists, companies should be required to use it.
- Expand the public right-to-know on toxic chemicals. Consumers and workers should have easy access to information on the chemical content of products.
- Promote innovation for safer alternatives. The federal government should provide resources to businesses and researchers to make products safer.