Toxic Chemicals Reform Bill: Statement from Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Comments from Michele Roberts and Richard Moore, spokespersons for the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, on the "Chemical Safety Improvement Act" introduced yesterday by Senators Frank Lautenberg and David Vitter.

"Communities living on the fenceline of polluting industries, chemical storage facilities, and other immediately dangerous industrial operations have worked together for more than seven years on a federal bill that would protect people from the acute and chronic dangers of industrial toxic chemicals.

Their organizing and commitment has delivered this moment when Congress might actually take up meaningful action.

Yet our understanding is that the sections of the former Safe Chemicals Act requiring protections for 'hot spots' – communities most impacted by chemicals – and expedited action to restrict known persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals are not included in the compromise bill. We are deeply disappointed that those most harmed by failed chemical regulations and those who have worked tirelessly to support industrial chemical protections for all people will themselves be left inadequately protected under the Chemical Safety Improvement Act.

Our commitment remains to restrict chemicals we already know are persistent, toxic and bioaccumulative and a threat to people. We want to make sure this legislation will achieve equal protection for all people, and eliminate these 'hot spots' or as we refer to them, sacrifice zones where people of color, low income people, the sick, and most vulnerable are forced to bear more polluting and threatening industrial emissions in places where we live, work, play, worship, and go to school.

A just policy includes 'hot spots' to protect those most vulnerable ensures these constituents – in diverse states like New Jersey, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Kentucky, California, Texas, Delaware, South Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, and Minnesota, are not excluded. Ongoing releases of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals is also of great concern to Arctic Indigenous peoples who have some of the highest chemical body burdens of any population on earth.

The Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform is actively tracking the progress of the bill and meeting with our representatives both on the ground and in political office as the particulars of the bill become clear and our analysis unfolds."

SOURCE Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

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