WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON
In 2016, our nation’s chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), was overhauled. First enacted in 1976, TSCA had become outdated and weak. The updated version, called the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, had strong bipartisan support—and Moms Clean Air Force’s support too. It contains critical reforms to ensure that dangerous chemicals don’t contaminate our health or the places we live, work, and play.
There are always going to be detractors trying to roll TSCA back. And Moms is always going to be here to demand that our elected officials protect TSCA and not prioritize factors like economic costs over human safety when deciding if new chemicals can be used. We also educate our community about chemicals we all encounter daily with our Ask Mom Detective series. Our useful answers are always rooted in recent science.
WHY WE CARE
Household goods are often formulated with synthetic chemicals that can affect our health. Household cleaners, construction materials, carpeting, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and craft supplies are among the products that may contain toxic chemicals. Chemicals in household products may include flame retardants, water repellents, fragrances, plasticizers, and solvents. Unfortunately, not all of these chemicals are required to be tested for human health before making their way into consumer products.
Many of the chemicals found in household products are detectable in our bloodstreams, indicating that we are routinely exposed to these substances and they are getting in our bodies. The number of chemicals is vast and health impacts vary, but some found in everyday products have been linked to a range of potential health problems, including cancer, developmental disorders, reproductive problems, endocrine problems, and more. Children and pregnant women are uniquely vulnerable.
Many of the chemicals found in household products are
detectable in our bloodstreams, showing that we are
routinely exposed to these substances.
Black women and babies are frequently overexposed to toxic chemicals in everyday products. For example, many of the beauty products marketed specifically to women of color contain high levels of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive harm. Women of color who work in the beauty industry, especially as hair care professionals, are also routinely exposed to an outsize amount of toxic chemicals in hair straighteners, relaxers, and dyes.
A landmark lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson awarded billions to a group of women with cancer, saying that the company knew there was asbestos in its baby powder. The majority of women in the lawsuit were Black; the powder was heavily marketed to them.
The Trump administration made efforts to weaken TSCA. We have since seen signs that the Biden EPA is getting chemical safety back on track. Challenges remain and work lies ahead to repair the damage done by the former administration and to stave off future threats in an effort to advance a broader vision of health protection for everyone.
Moms will continue to support the strongest possible version of TSCA. We also support people and organizations asking manufacturers and retailers to step in where our government won’t to make sure the products they make and sell are safe for children and families.