The Toxic Substances Control Act has been on the books since 1976, and it’s done almost nothing to protect Americans from toxic substances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA has analyzed only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals in use, and has banned only 5.
The EPA does little to restrict the use of dangerous chemicals or to warn people about them. The Department of Labor does maintain a website that shows which toxic substances have clear links to specific occupational illnesses and the best site is California’s Prop. 65 list of chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects.
The EPA has actually endangered public health by allowing manufacturers to hide information about the dangers of chemicals and the products that contain them.
As a result, Americans face very real dangers at work and at home. The dangers from chemicals have become so pervasive that babies are at risk when they drink from baby bottles.
Even the womb is not the safe. Tests on newborn babies have found that they have more than 200 different chemicals in their blood. And birth defects, deformities and malformations caused by chemical exposure during pregnancy are tragic. We have seen many deformed children in cases where the mother was assured that she could continue working with chemicals, even though pregnant.
Besides deformities and other birth defects, a number of other birth statistics are startling. The number of boys being born has been declining, and many boys and older males are less virile than members of previous generations were.
Girls are suffering the opposite problem. Before 1945, 16 was considered normal for the onset of puberty in girls in the United States. Even today, in rural China, girls don’t reach puberty until they’re 17 or older. Today, many are reaching puberty long before they should. Some are as young as 5 when they begin to show signs of development, and the situation is common for girls 9 and 10.
Europe uses many of the chemicals that the United States uses and in 2006 the European Union took a significant step by enacting the The Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) law, which went into effect in 2007. In Europe, manufacturers and importers must now register their chemicals with the European Chemicals Agency and ensure that they’re safe for the environment and for human health.
REACH is excellent public policy, and a similar bill has begun its long journey to becoming law in the United States. The Kid Safe Chemical Act would enact many requirements that seem like nothing more than common sense, such as requiring that industrial chemicals are safe for infants and children, and requiring that new chemicals be tested for safety before being sold. The Kid Safe Chemical Act is good, but it probably doesn’t go far enough to protect everyone, especially workers in hazardous environments. Still, it’s much better than the TSCA, and the Congress should act quickly on it and make it law.
If your child was exposed to chemicals during pregnancy, you need lawyers with hands-on experience in proving the cause of birth defects, combined with a solid track record of delivering results, and the financial resources to take on the major expense of a birth defects case. Children in California, Washington, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Vermont and France have benefited because of our experience, extraordinary resources and readiness and our results have earned us a national reputation.
If you suspect your child has suffered birth defects because of chemical exposure in the workplace, call 1.888.777.1776 or email us to find out if we can make a difference for you or your family. There is no charge unless, and until, we collect for you.