Failure of Toxics Law Responsible for Worsening Public Health Crisis
Exposures to unregulated chemicals increase risk of breast cancer, other diseases
WASHINGTON—The nation’s toxics law has utterly failed to protect the American public from chemicals linked to a number of chronic diseases, including breast cancer, asthma and infertility, according to testimony given by Jeanne Rizzo, President and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, at a congressional hearing on Thursday, June 13.
“I’m here to state, in no uncertain terms, that the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act is hurting us. In fact, it’s killing us,” said Rizzo in her prepared remarks to the U.S. House of Representatives Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing to understand TSCA’s history and impact. “TSCA was passed with the great hope that this law would protect public health. We now have 37 years of proof that this law has failed us, and miserably so.”
Rizzo testified that under the Toxic Substances Control Act, only 200 of more than 84,000 chemicals in commerce have ever been tested for safety by the Environmental Protection Agency, and only five chemicals have been restricted.
Today 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That’s a 40 percent increase since TSCA’s passage. A volcano of scientific studies points to environmental causes, including chemical exposures, as risk factors for breast cancer.
In the hearing, Rizzo referred to a “growing chorus” that is urging Congress to take immediate action to strengthen the way chemicals are regulated in this country and to protect Americans from chemicals that are causing us great harm.
“The women of this country are looking to your leadership,” Rizzo said to the congressional committee. “People in our armed services want assurance that there won’t be another Camp Lejeune-style cancer cluster. Workers in factories want to know they’re protected. Parents want to know that their six-year-old daughters won’t have to face early puberty. Our children and grandchildren want to know that they won’t face a greater burden of disease than we are facing. Reforming TSCA is an awesome responsibility. And it’s urgent. Our health and the health of the nextfuture generations depend on it.”
Last month, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Sen. David Vitter introduced the Chemical Safety Improvement Act to reform TSCA. The Breast Cancer Fund opposes the legislation unless it is significantly strengthened to reduce cancer risk. Read our full statement on the CSIA.
Rizzo’s written testimony is available at http://www.breastcancerfund.org/big-picture-solutions/green-our-chemical-system/reforming-tsca.html.
The video stream from the subcommittee hearing can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/video/house-committee/hsif00
The archived video can be found at http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings
The Breast Cancer Fund is the leading national organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. www.breastcancerfund.org