Safe Chemicals Act: Senators use common sense

This item originally appeared in: The Missoulian

Author

Deven Walker

I’m writing to thank Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus for fighting to protect the health of Montanans by supporting the Safe Chemicals act.

If asked, most people would probably assume that only safe chemicals are allowed to be put in common consumer products. That’s just common sense, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, current inadequate chemical safety laws have allowed thousands of chemicals to completely bypass safety testing, while only a couple hundred have been tested. Even chemicals that are known to be dangerous are still being allowed into products we use.
It is because of this poor regulation that asbestos was used commonly in building materials and it was only after millions of dollars worth of legal battles that it was made illegal. We simply cannot afford to use this costly, inefficient approach to consumer safety. Even chemicals that are known to be dangerous are being used in everyday products. For example, formaldehyde, which can cause illnesses like cancer and leukemia, is being used in composite wood products. This composite wood is used to make furniture, changing tables and even cribs. Are you kidding me?

We need the Safe Chemicals Act, which will go a long way toward remedying the inadequacies of the current system. The Safe Chemicals Act will require testing of chemicals before they are allowed into products on retail shelves, and also proper labeling, so that consumers who want to make safe choices will have the information to do so.