Toxic Substance Control Act – A Walk Through the Memory Lane of Dangerous Exposures

August 12, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

We think we’re so in control.

Lead paint in children’s toys used to be a problem. Asbestos in industrial and military manufacturing products used to be a problem. Formaldehyde used to be a problem. We think we’ve crossed that path, that those dangers are all behind us. We think, geez, how lucky are we now, to be living in a world where these dangerous substances are recognized and treated as dangerous; how lucky we are to live in a world where our children our so safe.

So, yes, times have changed and we are all eating grass-fed, organic, farm-raised, local, pesticide-free, antibiotics free, hormone-free, all natural.

But are we safe?

Lead paint, while banned in the United States, has been found in children’s toys imported from China in recent years, not to mention the lead paint in old homes. Asbestos, a well-known carcinogen, is still not banned in the United States and is in products (like construction materials) used today. Formaldehyde is still alive and kicking too — you can find the hazardous chemical in some of the latest hair smoothing treatments at your local salon.

The problem is, we can eat organic all we want but still be exposed to the worst of chemicals and toxins. We simply cannot control our exposure to horrible things in the same way that we can our food choices. Toys that contain lead and old buildings that contain asbestos do not come with the same warnings as our favorite new gluten and wheat free! bread; typically the only indication that we have been exposed to harmful substances comes from the pile-up of doctor and hospital visits, medical bills and blood work that ultimately spells: you were injured and, though it was not your fault, though you never chose to be exposed to these toxins, you are sick.

Enter our savior: The Toxic Substance Control Act. Passed in 1976, the law was intended to protect people from the serious risks associated with toxic and chemical exposure. Lead, asbestos, formaldehyde, Bisphenol A (or “BPA”), Polychlorinated biphenyls (or “BCP’s”), Hexavalent chromium… the list of toxic substances is long. Problem is, the bill is not cutting it. And while we may not know it all the time, we need more.

Efforts are being made now to look at necessary revisions to our country’s regulation of industrial chemicals. On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on why more regulations are needed and we hope that the wheels are starting to churn for these necessary revisions. However, we don’t just think it is time anymore, we know it is time. The extent to which we are starting to understand the connection between chemicals and disease is growing each year; from 1976 to 2013 the evidence has grown to a point where it is undeniable. Now, it is time for our Toxic Substance Control Act to step into the 21st century.

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