Washington, DC—Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, a bill introduced by U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would reform chemical management policy in the United States.
“As they grow and develop, children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of chemicals in the environment,” said AAP President-Elect James Perrin, MD, FAAP. “Pediatricians commend Senators Lautenberg and Gillibrand for introducing the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which puts children’s health first and foremost by making needed improvements to current law.”
Specifically, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 would give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new tools to protect children and families from toxic chemicals, including:
- Requiring chemical manufacturers to prove that new chemicals are safe before they enter the market
- Giving the EPA more authority to ban harmful chemicals, ensure the safety of chemicals that are already in use and protect children and other vulnerable populations from chemical exposures
- Establishing a children’s environmental health research program and an independent advisory committee
These provisions represent a balanced approach to reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the federal law that currently governs chemical production and use in the United States, which hasn’t been updated since it was passed in 1976. Since then, thousands of new chemicals have entered the market and widespread exposure has been well-documented, but under TSCA, the EPA has only limited authority to regulate unsafe chemicals. In fact, more than 80,000 chemicals are being used every day with inadequate data on their safety or how they impact children’s health.
“Our current federal chemical management policy falls short for children,” said Dr. Perrin. “The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 is a welcome and needed step toward protecting children and their families from harmful chemicals. The American Academy of Pediatrics looks forward to working with Senators Lautenberg and Gillibrand to move this important bill through the Senate.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)