Don't Delay - It's Time for Safer Products!
No, we're not talking about how long our current President has been in office. Or how long a Leap Year baby has to wait for an official birthday...we're talking about how long it's been since California passed the law for safer, toxic-free products in our state. It's time to get this program up and running and we need your help.
In 2008, California passed a law mandating a new approach to regulating toxic chemicals in consumer products, which is now known as the Safer Consumer Products Program. This law required the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to identify and prioritize a list of chemicals in consumer products, explore their alternatives, and regulate them in order to reduce or eliminate the public’s exposure. For the last four years, both the Schwarzenegger and Brown administration have been working with stakeholders to develop regulations that would implement this program. After several false starts, the administration finally released draft regulations. Right now we have a unique opportunity in California to finally get safer, toxic-free products!
There is no system in place that ensures products on our store shelves are safe. Toxic flame retardants in our couches, BPA in our baby bottles, and phthalates in our beauty products -- we see new studies every week linking these and other toxic chemicals to serious health concerns. Childhood cancers have increased 20% since 1975, and now, 1 in 88 U.S. children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. These statistics cannot be explained by genetics alone. We’ve all been forced to live with the fact that we carry a cocktail of toxic and untested chemicals in our bodies knowing that the federal government is powerless to act due to weak and outdated chemical laws. Workers, low income communities and communities of color have been forced to bear an unequal burden of toxic chemical exposure.
CHANGE in action
CHANGE has been working very hard for safer products over the past four years. We’ve participated faithfully in every DTSC workshop and even hosted our own community forums in Fresno, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area. Hundreds of Californians have been engaged through our educational presentations and meetings with decisionmakers in Sacramento and in our local communities. What was the overwhelming conclusion from our members, workers, and businesses? “We want safer products now!”
A step forward
This four year process has led state agencies asking the same questions we’ve been asking the whole time, such as: "Is it necessary to put a cancer-causing chemical in my baby's shampoo?". This new program starts out with those questions, and sets us on a path to safer products. It's not perfect, but it's a step forward.
The Safer Consumer Products program draws on scientific, authoritative lists to look at chemicals we should be concerned about and starts forging ahead for safer products. While there are 1,200 chemicals on this list, it starts with very small steps, examining only a handful of products that may not need the chemical at all, or can use a safer alternative.
We need to get California's program for safer products up and running -- for the health and safety our workers, community, and children. Let's reward the forward-thinking businesses who already recognize safer products are good for the economy.
Why the delay?
The chemical industry and their lobbyists are clinging to dinosaur positions. They've been asking for extensions on comment periods, even though they're the ones with deep pockets and have had four years to analyze and provide their opinion.
Delay delay delay. We've seen it before. And we don't have to stand for it in California. We can lead the nation in the quest for safer products that benefit our health, environment and the economy. Remember, this program starts out with a list of only a handful of products to make sure we’re getting the safest and least toxic alternatives underway -- there’s no reason for delay!
Are you ready for safer products? We are too. Let our state government do what we pay them to do -- ensure safer products are on our shelves now.
Contact Kathryn Alcantar, CHANGE Campaign Director, to get more involved, email@example.com.