This was written by Moms Clean Air Force’s Trisha Sheehan:
As a lifelong New Jersey resident, and the daughter of a farmer, I love my home state. From the coastal beaches, to the acres of farmland, New Jersey is a beautiful place to raise a family. However, New Jersey is also a manufacturing state, chock full of chemical facilities and factories.
In 2012, my family was exposed to a toxic chemical, vinyl chloride, as a result of a train derailment. My two young sons and I became sick from this exposure–and I began educating myself about the health impacts of chemicals. What I learned shocked me.
That is why I am so pleased that we have a new bill to regulate toxic chemicals–which started with the efforts of the late New Jersey Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. And the bill would not have come this far without the work of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who helped bring a bi-partisan coalition together to fix our broken chemical law and protects our children from toxic chemicals. As a person who grew up around animals, I also appreciate Booker’s work to protect them from chemical testing. Their work makes me proud to be a citizen of New Jersey!
My journey into learning about toxic chemicals took me well beyond train derailments. What I found out shocked me. I learned that new chemicals go on the market, get formulated into products, and hit the store shelves – all without being tested for safety. Some of these chemicals, found in everyday products like carpets, paint strippers, shower curtains, and crafting supplies, are raising red flags in research labs due to concerns about how they impact our lungs, our endocrine systems, our brains, our reproductive systems, and so on. What this means is that every day, American families are being exposed to potentially toxic chemicals from the products we are using in our homes.
How is this possible? We have a badly broken chemical regulatory system. Our current law, the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act (TSCA), is older than me and fails to protect my children’s health from chemical exposures. The law is so weak that the government has been unable to regulate even asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Advocates and lawmakers have been trying to fix this law for many years. And despite a Washington DC that seems deeply divided by partisan politics, a new bipartisan bill addressing our nation’s outdated and harmful chemical law has emerged from Capitol Hill, the result of months of negotiations between the House and the Senate.
The new bill, the TSCA Modernization Act, addresses TSCA’s critical flaws. It requires new chemicals to undergo a safety review before coming onto the market. It ensures that experts, not industry executives, decide which chemicals should be regulated. And it guarantees that families have access to vital information regarding chemicals, from health and safety studies.
As a mother of children who have suffered from the health impacts of toxic chemical exposure, I applaud my New Jersey Senator for working so hard to protect my family. (Tweet this)