A group of the country's leading consumer brands have formed a new coalition to persuade Congress to update the nation's out-of-date and ineffective chemical safety laws. Strong lobbying by other industry groups has given policymakers the impression that business is monolithic in its support for weak legislation. The new coalition, Companies for Safer Chemicals, will make a business argument for strong reforms that support the industry innovating to create safer and cleaner products.
The founding members of the coalition, led by Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council, include Patagonia, Stonyfield Farm, Aubrey Organics, Method, Naturepedic, EO, Annie's, EILEEN FISHER, Zarbee's Naturals, Keys, Think Dirty, Beautycounter and others. While many of the companies (and some of their respective industries and states) have taken their own initiative in terms of eliminating toxic chemicals in their products, the coalition members strongly believe more stringent federal regulation is a must.
"Federal chemical reform is desperately needed, but after 25 years of doing business, we know we can't do it alone," said John Replogle, CEO of Seventh Generation. "We're honored to be joined by such a diverse group of socially responsible businesses and we're looking forward to driving change that will protect the health of future generations."
"We would like to see regulations that promote transparency and support the public's right to know what is in the products that they buy. That's why we have joined this coalition of businesses to advocate for reform," said Adam Lowry, Co-founder of Method.
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Coalition members have signed a declaration, which reads, in part:
- As companies and business leaders, we're asking Congress to pass comprehensive and effective chemical safety reform legislation now. Chemical policy reform must protect the most vulnerable among us, and require public access to information regarding the safety of chemicals. Reform must respect the rights of states to protect their residents when the federal government fails to do so, and require the Environmental Protection Agency to take fast action on the most harmful chemicals. Right now the Chemical Safety Improvement Act does NOT meet these criteria. Guided by good science, legislation can drive business innovation and success, and protect public health.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976, and unlike other major environmental laws, has never been updated. As a result, it is a barrier to industry innovation as well as a hindrance to the health of employees and consumers. The U.S. Senate has introduced the Chemical Safety Improvement Act and the House of Representatives is expected to draft its own legislation. The coalition says the principles laid out in the declaration will guide the group’s educational and advocacy activities to shape developing legislation.
"Meaningful reform will speed to market cleaner and safer products and allow companies to meet increasing consumer demand," said David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council*.* "Effective policy reform will drive economic growth and job creation."
"Manufacturers today face no liability when they put toxic chemicals in baby products and this has to stop," said Barry Cik, Co-founder of Naturepedic. "We need more manufacturers to join the coalition and change the way things are done."