ANA Endorses Kid Safe Chemical Act
20, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Reps. Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Henry
Waxman (D-CA) introduced the Kid Safe Chemicals Act (S. 3040/H.R. 6100).
This ANA-supported legislation would protect Americans, especially
children, from toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. ANA believes
that protection from exposure to toxic chemicals is fundamental both to
public health and to the protection of nurses in the
Under existing federal law, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has little authority to gather necessary data or to take
action to protect workers, consumers or children from dangerous chemicals.
Growing scientific evidence of human exposure to hazardous chemicals
underscores the importance of prompt Congressional action.
Safe Chemicals Act places the burden of proof on chemical makers, rather
than EPA, to demonstrate the safety of the products that they manufacture
and import to the United States. It will force critical information into
the public domain about chemical hazards, and contains a strict safety
standard that would be applied to thousands of industrial chemicals. In
addition, the legislation expands the Center for Disease Prevention and
Control's (CDC) national survey of chemicals through human biomonitoring.
Specifically the Kid Safe Chemical Act will:
- Require Basic Data on Industrial Chemicals.
Chemical companies must demonstrate the safety of their products, backed
up with credible evidence. Chemicals that lack minimum data could not be
legally manufactured in or imported into the United States.
- Place the Burden on Industry to Demonstrate Safety.
EPA must systematically review whether industry has met this burden of
proof for all industrial chemicals within 15 years of adoption.
- Restrict the Use of Dangerous Chemicals Found in Newborn
Babies. Hazardous chemicals detected in human cord blood would
be immediately targeted for restrictions on their use.
- Use New Scientific Evidence to Protect Health. EPA
must consider and is authorized to require additional testing as new
science and new testing methods emerge, including for health effects at
low doses or during fetal or infant development and for
- Establish a National Program to Assess Human
Exposure. The federal government's Center for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is to expand existing analysis of pollutants in
people to help identify chemicals that threaten the health of children,
workers, or other vulnerable populations.
- Expand the Public Right to Know on Toxic Chemicals.
A new, Internet-accessible public database on chemical hazards and uses
will inform companies, communities, and consumers. EPA is to rein in
excessive industry claims of confidentiality.
- Invest in Long-Term Solutions. New funding and
incentives are provided for development of safer alternatives and
technical assistance in "green chemistry."
In 2006, the ANA
House of Delegates affirmed
to reducing the use of toxic chemicals. This resolution
recognized the need to better understand the relationship between health
and the environment, especially for vulnerable populations such as
infants, children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Further, ANA endorses
efforts to ensure the right-to-know about potentially hazardous chemicals
to which nurses, other healthcare workers, patients, and the public are
The facts regarding exposures and current lack of
regulation are striking. Out of the 80,000 chemicals used to produce the
products in our homes, the EPA has only required testing of 200. In fact,
a 2006 GAO report cites the weakness of the current Toxic Substances
Control Act (TSCA), highlighting that only five chemicals that existed 29
years ago when Congress passed TSCA have ever been restricted by EPA.
Recent revelations about the link between the chemical "Bisphenol A,"
found in many plastics including baby and water bottles and cancer and
reproductive issues only underscores that the current lack of regulation
and testing is putting the public at risk.
Nurses in particular
confront daily low-level but repeated exposures to mixtures of hazardous
materials that include residues from medications, anesthetic gases,
sterilizing and disinfecting chemicals, radiation, latex, cleaning
chemicals, hand and skin disinfection products, and even mercury escaping
from broken medical equipment.
A first-ever national survey
nurses' exposures to chemicals, pharmaceuticals and radiation on the job
released in December of 2007 suggests there are links between serious
health problems such as cancer, asthma, miscarriages and children's birth
defects and the duration and intensity of these exposures. The survey
included 1,500 nurses from all 50 states.
ANA is pleased to
support the Kid Safe Chemicals Act (KSCA), which represents a major step
toward vital reforms in U.S. Chemical Policy, and we will continue to work
to advance the bill and ensure the health and safety of nurses and their