Quantcast

Major Flaws Exposed in Senate's Vitter-Udall Chemical Bill

Health + Wellness

Opponents of the Senate’s Vitter-Udall chemical legislation introduced last week point to numerous flaws in the bill. Perhaps the most contentiously debated part is something called “preemption” which would slow or stop states from acting to control harmful chemicals. Just a few days after introduction of the bill, two state attorneys general are already speaking out.

The Vitter bill “strays far from a bill that can adequately protect our citizens from the potential risks that may be posed by certain toxic chemicals in commerce,” says Massachusetts Attorneys General Maura Healey.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Preemption is chemical lobby priority numero uno because only the states in recent years have managed to make headway in controlling some of the worst toxic chemicals. It’s why the chemical lobby rushed to endorse the bill.

According to our friends at SAFER States, more than 150 state policies have been enacted to protect citizens from harmful chemicals. States have made critical progress to:

  • define hazardous chemicals of greatest concern to vulnerable populations
  • disclose the use of these chemicals in consumer products
  • ban the worst-of-the-worst; and
  • move the marketplace and the nation towards safer alternatives.

State officials speak out

So it’s not surprising that state attorneys general are coming forward to warn that the bill will limit the ability of states to take action.

On March 5, the California attorney general’s general counsel was the first to weigh in with a detailed critique. Among his concerns is a “regulatory void” that would be created under the bill because it stops state action once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency begins a slow motion process of up to seven years to control a dangerous chemical. One has to imagine somewhere, a room of chemical lobbyists has got champagne on ice in anticipation of a seven year pass to do what they will.

States, who also do most of the toxics enforcement in this country, would be barred from passing laws identical to rules at the federal level. Our national director, Andy Igrejas, called that provision “a blatant attempt to reduce enforcement.”

This week, the Massachusetts attorneys general weighed in too, saying the Vitter bill “strays far from a bill that can adequately protect our citizens from the potential risks that may be posed  by certain toxic chemicals in commerce.”  The AG, Maura Healey, went on to say that while she supports federal chemical policy reform, the effort “cannot compromise the ability of states like Massachusetts to use our agencies’ expertise and experience to address the potential public health risks posed by some chemicals.”

I’m just scratching the surface of the state rollbacks. Our friends at the Environmental Health Strategy Center have put together a detailed chart. For more on the weaknesses of the bill, read our recent blog packed with detail.

You can also watch this Rachel Maddow Show segment, Chemical Lobbyist Exposed as Author of New Bill to Regulate Industry, for more information on this issue:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

6 Common Food Additives Used in the U.S. That Are Banned in Other Countries

Alarming Report Links Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Autism, ADHD, lower IQ and Obesity

Must-See TEDxManhattan Video Features Bold Leaders ‘Changing the Way We Eat’

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

The world's population will hit 10 billion in just 30 years and all of those people need to eat. To feed that many humans with the resources Earth has, we will have to cut down the amount of beef we eat, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.

Read More Show Less

Beachgoers enjoying a pleasant evening on Georgia's St. Simons Island rushed into the water, despite warnings of sharks, to rescue dozens of short-finned pilot whales that washed ashore on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less

Six Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested as they blocked off corporations in the UK. The group had increased their actions to week-long nationwide protests.

Read More Show Less
Sari Goodfriend

By Courtney Lindwall

Across the world, tens of thousands of young people are taking to the streets to protest climate inaction. And at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem last month, more than a dozen of them took to the stage.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pumpjacks on Lost Hills Oil Field in California. Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons

By Julia Conley

A national conservation group revealed Wednesday that President Donald Trump's drilling leases on public lands could lead to the release of more carbon emissions than the European Union contributes in an entire year.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

For nearly a century, scientists thought that malaria could only spread in places where it is really hot. That's because malaria is spread by a tiny parasite that infects mosquitoes, which then infect humans — and this parasite loves warm weather. In warmer climates, the parasite grows quickly inside the mosquito's body. But in cooler climates, the parasite develops so slowly that the mosquito will die before the it is fully grown.

Read More Show Less
The summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which is considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians. Charmian Vistaunet / Design Pics / Getty Images

A decade-long fight over the proposed construction of a giant telescope on a mountain considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians came to a head Wednesday when 33 elders were arrested for blocking the road to the summit, HuffPost Reported.

Read More Show Less