Have you heard of the Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S.697)? The name might be a little deceiving, as the proposed bill is considered to be worse than the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which has been in existence for thirty-nine years.
Currently, under TSCA, asbestos still affects thousands of individuals each year in America, leading to illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. The Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act makes no mention of the toxic substance or the deadly diseases that can occur after exposure occurs.
Presented by U.S. senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the act, which was introduced to Congress last week, has met opposition from other senators, health and safety organizations, and the victims of toxic substances, like asbestos. "While Senators Vitter and Udall have made some positive changes, the bill is not up to the important task of protecting public health," said Andy Igrejas, director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.
While the bill is criticized by those concerned with the safety of American citizens, it is widely accepted by the chemical industry, including the American Chemistry Council and the American Cleaning Institute. It is agreed that many changes need to be made to the current Toxic Substances Control Act, but Linda Reinstein of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization says "any 'chemical safety' bill that does not ban asbestos isn't worth the paper it's printed on," and we agree.