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Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Andrew

I've been thinking lately how the parenthood/general battle against "germs" has caused us to put antimicrobial agents in just about everything. I think a lot of it comes to lazyness/convenience. You can wash your hands for 20 seconds, or use an antimicrobial hand sanitizer that works instantly. We would not need the Triclosan in tartar-control toothpastes either if we all brushed for the full 2 minutes. Saliva is a natural bacteria killing agent, by the way.

ZeroToSixtyComm

Thank you for making this point. It's so important that people are shopping from an informed perspective and are trying to make choices that are better for the environment, but government policy is the only way to create sweeping large-scale change. The fact is that chemicals are now ubiquitous and even people who are informed shoppers and eat organic show the same chemicals in their bodies as those who do not.

Over the past 35 years, EPA has been able to require safety testing of only about a few hundred of the tens of thousands used to make the products and materials that surround us, and has been able to restrict only limited uses of just five of those chemicals. This is because the main U.S. law addressing toxic chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is too old and too weak to protect our families and our environment. Most federal environmental laws are revisited every 10 years or so, but it's been 35 since we took a look at TSCA. Meanwhile our use of chemicals and our understanding of their impacts on our health have grown dramatically.

So while being an informed consumer is extremely important, ultimately government is an essential partner in solving this problem, both directly and through the incentives it provides to the private sector. No matter how diligent we are as individuals, we can't escape the impacts of chemicals merely through what we buy or don't buy; systematic policy solutions are needed. We applaud EPA and the many state government officials who have stepped-up their action on this issue. Now it's time for Congress to act and hope that 2011 will be the year we pass a highly effective #TSCA reform bill.

Advocate for strong chemical policy in the US - a stronger #TSCA. Visit www.notaguineapig.com and www.saferchemicals.org to learn more and to stay current.

acm

amen! preach it, sister!

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