In recent years, scientific research has documented the levels of toxic chemicals to which Americans are exposed and the possible links to disturbing trends in chronic disease. In 2000, the Pew Environmental Health Commission highlighted children’s particular vulnerability to pollutants with its reports on rising asthma rates, pediatric cancers and the increase in certain birth defects.
Unfortunately, our national policies have not kept pace with technological advances. We do not properly test and track the chemicals that end up in the foods we eat, the medicines we inhale, or even the latest consumer product inventions.
Support grew in Congress to address major deficiencies in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was designed to provide sufficient safety information to companies using chemicals in their products, and the consumers of these goods. Currently, minimal data is available for fewer than 3,000 of the roughly 80,000 chemicals in the TSCA inventory.
Our Environment and Health groups operated a joint initiative on environmental health to modernize TSCA to emphasize better protections for children.