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Bill Clears Way for Chemical Testing of Household Products

Since 1976, the EPA has banned only five of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States.

President Barack Obama has signed a sweeping overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 – the first substantial overhaul of a U.S. environmental law in more than two decades.

These reforms have said to have been a decade in the making, as legislators, industry groups and public health advocates have struggled to reach a consensus on behalf of businesses and consumers alike. These reforms, according to the International Business Times, — will lift certain restrictions on the EPA’s authority and ease burdensome requirements that have kept the EPA from studying chemicals in clothing, household cleaning products, furniture, toys and other products we regularly wear and use.

Believe it or not, since 1976 the EPA has banned only five of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States. If that’s not scary enough, apparently only about 7 percent of the roughly 3,000 high-volume chemicals have been tested for safety. So think about that tomorrow morning as you’re slathering personal care products on your skin, and in your hair… and try to enjoy your weekend.

President Obama said the chemicals law would be particularly critical for vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women, the elderly and the poor. In addition to updating rules for tens of thousands of everyday chemicals, says the AP, the law also sets safety standards for dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, asbestos and styrene. The law aims to standardize on the national level what is currently a jumble of state rules governing the $800 billion-per-year industry.

I’m Anna Wells, and this is IEN Now.

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