Originally published October 11 2013
Fed up with federal inaction, California sets new standards for toxic chemicals, encouraging companies to find safer alternatives
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) More than 80,000 chemicals in the United States have never even been tested for their toxic effects on human health and the environment. Federal regulations, designed to protect public health and the environment from toxic chemicals, have done the opposite. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed in 1976, has been more of an open door for toxic chemicals to run amuck. The people and the states are waking up to this. The federal government is not providing safety but is instead opening up a lobbying gateway for chemical manufacturers to slip their toxic ingredients through and into everyday products. Since 1976, the EPA states that they have "only been able to require testing on a little more than 200 existing chemicals."
The idea that a centralized government can be entrusted to protect people's health and environment is a farce. The proof resides in the reality that today's chemical industry is nearly a 3 trillion dollar global enterprise, led by the US and the European Union.
A 3 trillion dollar chemical industry must be held more accountableMaybe all chemicals aren't that bad, but they are definitely more pervasive, and untested, now than ever. Natural, safe alternatives are disregarded, as companies seek a more profitable venture of mass-produced chemicals.
What can really be done to prevent the chemical assault on the American people and the rest of the world? First, there has to be strong public awareness and a shift toward safer alternatives. People everywhere should be educated on what is being put in and on their bodies and into their environment. Then they must put their money where their heart is. There are consequences to rubbing and ingesting toxic substances and these ill effects are showing up in people's lives every day - toxic organ conditions, devastated livers and lungs, skin conditions, heavy metal poisoning, nervous disorders, cancers etc.
California vows to find safer alternativesA new set of California regulations is poised to make a huge difference, standing up against the toxic chemical giants. The new California regulations welcome awareness to the dangers of new and existing chemicals. The California law bypasses years of federal inaction, pushing back against corporate lobbying by requiring companies to research safer alternatives for their products.
"We're not only saying something should be taken out," says Karl Palmer, chief of the state's Safer Consumer Products Branch. "But we're saying, 'What's going to be used in its place?' So we are going to get from something bad to hopefully something that is better."
The regulations start slow, in hopes of gaining public awareness. The first year, five chemicals are to be examined and brought to the attention of the people and the companies that manufacture them.
The new rules are called the Safer Consumer Products regulations, and they are the first of their kind in the US. These regulations allow state officials to publish a list of potentially threatening chemicals, and each year, starting next April, five priority products containing those chemicals will be brought forth for further inspection, scrutiny and testing.
The companies that manufacture these products in California will then be required to provide detailed lab safety assessments. The regulations are designed to compel research into finding safer replacements. When safer alternatives are discovered, discussed and established, companies will be required to alter their products for the safety of consumers.
The idea is a revolution against toxic chemicals that have sneaked through federal EPA and FDA oversight. In the last few decades, the federal government has acted more like a gateway for chemicals to run amuck in modern society.
With states like California setting new standards, awareness may ensue in the coming years, as people find out what is harmful and what is safe.
"The program starts out small, but it sends a big message," says Debbie Raphael, director of California's Department of Toxic Substances Control, Raphael and other state officials believe that the initial target of five products will launch a vision that will bring long-term change. "Smart businesses are already planning ahead, looking for alternative chemicals they can promote as less-toxic, family friendly and environmentally safe."
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