Erin Brockovich Goes to Washington

washington monument

Watch out Washington, Erin Brockovich is coming your way. And it’s not a social visit. She’s on a mission to shake, rattle and overhaul the nation’s toxic chemical laws, in particular the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The TSCA, which was passed in 1976, is seriously outdated and  offers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no real authority to obtain information needed to evaluate whether a chemical used in home products is or isn’t a health and safety risk.

A reformed TSCA, drafted by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) and Representatives Holida Solis (US Secretary of Labor) and Henry Waxman (CA), will be going through Congress this fall. A main component of this draft is the requirement that chemical manufacturers conduct safety testing before a chemical is used in products. The new Act would further require that the safety testing information be made available to the public.

These are actions that you would think happen automatically. Sadly, that isn’t the case. In fact, in the past 33 years, the EPA, due to its limited authority under the TSCA law, has required testing on just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemical compounds developed for products used in the home.

And that’s where Brockovich comes in. She has teamed up with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) coalition, Autism Society of America, Breast Cancer Fund, the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Seventh Generation (a  leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household and personal care products).

Together, they have organized a Million Baby Crawl on Washington in support of the reformed TSCA or Kids Safe Chemical Act. The Million Baby Crawl, while symbolic in nature, aims to first of all create awareness amongst parents about the need for and the importance of the Toxic Chemical legislative reform, and second, to collect a million signatures to present to Washington in January 2010 when the voting on the toxic reform legislation occurs.

Further reading: Seventh Generation for EcoSalon

Image: brunkfordbraun