Health Group Urges Senate Committee to Act on Testimony in Support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011
Absence of Chemicals Policy Reform Leaves Public Health in Jeopardy
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), a health advocacy group, urges Senators to act on testimony presented at Thursday’s U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing in support of the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847), which would substantially amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It has been 35 years since TSCA was passed with no significant updates since, and in the meantime, evidence linking chemical exposures to negative health outcomes continues to rise, according to HCWH.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is holding the first legislative hearing on the Safe Chemicals Act in a final push to gain additional Senate support for the bill before its markup, which he plans to schedule before the end of the year. Hearing witnesses include Charlotte Brody, RN, Director of Chemicals, Public Health and Green Chemistry, BlueGreen Alliance, and a founder and former executive director of HCWH.
“The mounting scientific evidence linking environmental exposures to increased rates of chronic diseases and, consequently, rising health care costs, make reform of our nation’s chemical regulatory system not only an urgent ethical imperative, but also a critical economic initiative,” said Gary Cohen, President of Health Care Without Harm. “With the Safe Chemicals Act, Congress has the unprecedented opportunity to enact truly preventative and health protective legislation that will also increase economic competitiveness and efficiency.”
Many voices within the health sector–including major health systems such as Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare West, group purchasing organizations such as Novation and Premier, and health professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, and American Public Health Association–have called on Congress to implement a modern, comprehensive chemicals policy to ensure all people are protected from potentially harmful chemicals.
“Inadequate regulation of chemicals is both morally and scientifically unsupportable,” stated Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director for the Science and Environmental Health Network and Science Advisor to HCWH. According to the Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, published by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, of which HCWH is a founding member, a growing body of scientific evidence links chemical exposures to a number of serious chronic diseases and disorders that are becoming more prevalent, including leukemia, brain, and other childhood cancers, which have increased more than 20 percent since 1975; breast cancer, which went up by 40 percent from 1973 to 1998; and asthma, which almost doubled in prevalence from 1980 to 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
Health Care Without Harm has sent an Action Alert asking its members to contact their Senators to urge them to support the Safe Chemicals Act. Thursday’s hearing will stream live from the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works at http://www.livestream.com/epw.
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of more than 508 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information about HCWH, visit www.noharm.org.
SOURCE Health Care Without Harm