PROTECT Yourself: Take Action

Influencing Policies and Regulations for a Healthy Community

The major federal law governing chemical substances in the United States is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides the EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals, but certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA — including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides. Being almost 40 years old, TSCA needs reforms to harness the advances in science and technology and to give consumers greater confidence in the safety of chemicals. You can make the change by supporting existing organizations (such as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the Environmental Working Group) or becoming directly involved in reform of the TSCA here or here.

Many states have passed chemical regulation policies on chemicals such as flame retardants and BPA.  These policies can spur other states to do so, and to help lead to eventual federal reform.  For an example of efforts in Massachusetts, see the work of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow.

People throughout the US succeeded in getting California to reform its flammability standard.  Since then, many have worked to change their own state codes to be in line with the more protective code. You can see examples of these efforts at the Green Science Policy Institute.

Going down to a more local level, some towns and cities have passed laws concerning pesticide spraying on lawns, some have prohibited building schools on contaminated land, and others have won policies directing government agencies to purchase less harmful products.  There are endless things you can do to protect yourself and your family from harmful substances, and in doing so, you can protect the whole society.

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