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July 25, 2012U.S. Senate Defies Chemical Corporations to Pass Safe Chemicals Act; Environmental health advocates celebrate historic vote

Contact: Stephenie Hendricks, (415) 258-9151, shendricks@comingcleaninc.org

(Washington, DC) The United States Senate resisted tens of millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions from the chemical industry to pass the Safe Chemicals Act out of a key committee. This bill would reform the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) for the first time since 1976.

"A measure of faith has been restored in our U.S. Senate. Despite corporate influence and deceptive practices by the chemical industry, our legislators did the right thing and acted to protect us from toxic chemicals that are linked to so many illnesses. But their work is by no means over. As nurses, we urge passage by the full Congress of the strongest possible Safe Chemicals Act," says Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM, Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.

Mark Mitchell, MD Co-Chair of the National Medical Association's Environmental Health Task Force, comments, "Conditions such as lowered IQ, learning and behavioral problems, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and infertility - all linked to chemical exposure - are on the rise. The Senate has shown that they are serious in efforts to reduce harmful exposure from many of the 84,000 unregulated chemicals in commerce."

"Since many people and communities of color, as well as workers, are disproportionately impacted by chemicals, this is a major step towards justice and human rights in the United States," responds Kathleen A. Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean & Healthy New York.

"We applaud the U.S. Senators who stood up to some of the most powerful corporations in the world to protect our health and especially our children's health from chemicals exposure," says Mike Schade, Markets Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ).

"Today we moved closer towards protecting those most at risk from chemical exposure. As a result the public as a whole will reap the health benefit from this historic step 35 years in the making," comments José T. Bravo, Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance.

"While we celebrate this historic moment, we now call upon the full Senate to demonstrate to the American people their commitment to protect public health by supporting passage of the Safe Chemicals Act," stated Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

Environmental Health advocates are documenting those who were principled in their vote and those who still are under the apparent influence of the chemical industry. This information will be made known to voters, who are overwhelmingly in favor of stricter regulation of toxic chemicals.

Available for Comment

Jose Bravo; Director, Just Transition Alliance; National Coordinator, Campaign for Healthier Solutions; (619) 838-6694, jose@comingcleaninc.org. Jose works with communities contaminated with chemicals, which occurs mostly where low income people of color are living, although everyone is at risk.  Habla Espanol.

Kathleen A. Curtis, LPN; Executive Director, Clean & Healthy New York; Former Policy Director, Clean New York, a project of Women's Voices for the Earth; Co-Coordinator, Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, Coming Clean; (518) 355-6202, kathy@cleanhealthyny.org. Kathy can address chemical reform in states and on a federal level and the role of flame retardants in the story. 

Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM; Director of Programs, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments; Co-Coordinator, Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, Coming Clean; (240) 753-3729, katie@envirn.org. Katie can address concerns from nurses and helath care prodvers about chemical exposure issues.

Pam Miller; Founder and Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics; (907) 222-7714, pamela@akaction.org. Pam can address the drift of POPs chemicals from lower hemispheres, putting Indigenous peoples in the Arctic at great risk for illness from chemical contaminants and can also address the several hundred toxic waste dump sites, now leaking chemicals due to global warming, and contaminating water, soil and air near communities. 

Mark A. Mitchell, MD, MPH; Co-chair of the Environmental Health Task Force, National Medical Association (the oldest and largest association of Physicians of Color); (860) 794-9497, mmitchell@enviro-md.com. Mark can talk about health disparities linked to environmental issues, as well as hot spots, legacy chemicals, increased susceptibility and unanticipated exposures in environmental justice communities.

Richard Moore; Los Jardines Institute; Co-Chair, Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform; (505) 301-0276, ljinewmexico@gmail.com. Richard can talk about environmental justice issues and organizing in the Southwest, and TSCA reform.  Habla Espanol.

Michele Roberts; Co-Coordinator, Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform; (202) 704-7593, mroberts@comingcleaninc.org. Michele can address TSCA policy issues and the impacts on communities in Mossville, Louisiana and other historic African American communities.

Mike Schade; Director, Mind the Store, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families; Formerly of Center for Health, Environment & Justice; (718) 873-3505, mikeschade@saferchemicals.org. Mike Schade can address the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride and the communities harmed by it, and the hazards PVC presents in everyday products, and market shifts created when consumer awareness was raised on bisphenol A (BPA).

 

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