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 Post subject: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:14 pm 
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I just got the following email from my senator:

Quote:

Having trouble seeing this e-mail? Click here to read it on my blog.

Dear Friend,

Most Americans believe that if they can buy a product at the grocery store or the hardware store, the government has tested it and determined that it’s safe.

But that’s not true. The chemical safety law we've had in place since 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act, allows chemicals to be used in consumer products without any evidence of safety. And, even worse because of a court case in 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lost its power to regulate or remove hazardous chemicals from the marketplace — not even asbestos, arsenic, chromium, formaldehyde, BPA or other dangerous substances that have been linked to birth defects and cancer.

Studies show we carry these chemicals around in our bodies, but we don't know the full impact they are having on our health, how they interact with each other — or with medication we take.

Some states are trying to fill in the gaps. But most states — like New Mexico — can’t afford to do any testing. And they have no state office that regulates chemical safety. These chemicals are in products produced all over the country — and the world — and sold in stores in every community. This cries out for a nationwide solution.

In short, the law has been broken for far too long. And Congress needs to work together and act to protect families, young children, and pregnant women.

I’ve been working for almost two years to craft a bill with both Democrats and Republicans to reform our nation’s broken chemical safety law. Earlier this month, I introduced legislation with broad support from both parties that would make sure the EPA can finally protect our kids from dangerous chemicals. It would:

Require safety reviews for all chemicals in active commerce,
Ensure the EPA takes into consideration only the impact on health and the environment when determining whether to allow a chemical to be sold or manufactured,
Require chemical companies contribute to the cost of regulations,
And explicitly require that the EPA base its decisions on how chemicals impact the most vulnerable among us — children, pregnant women, the elderly, and chemical workers.

Our bill is named for the late New Jersey Senator Lautenberg, who dedicated his career to public health causes including this one. It’s called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

Our bill is bipartisan. We had a good hearing recently. We're listening to all sides, and we’re continuing to work to improve it. But unlike past efforts that have failed, I believe our bill has the support we need to pass Congress. I hope you'll join me in spreading the word about the importance of fixing this broken law.

We have a moral obligation to act to protect our kids.


Cheers,

Tom Udall signature

Tom Udall
United States Senator


The jackassery is strong with this one:

Quote:
Ensure the EPA takes into consideration only the impact on health and the environment when determining whether to allow a chemical to be sold or manufactured,


You cannot make a rational cost-benefit analysis when you are required, by law, to examine only the cost.

Quote:
Require chemical companies contribute to the cost of regulations,


Translation: Require the customers of the chemical companies to contribute to the cost of regulation. What, you don't think they'll just pass the cost along? This amounts to a way to extract an arbitrary, undetermined tax from the public.

Quote:
We're listening to all sides,


Not on the evidence.

This is the same Senator who tried to amend the First Amendment to limit political speech. I am profoundly embarrassed that my state keeps returning him to the Senate.


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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:28 am 
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Quote:
And Congress needs to work together and act to protect families, young children, and pregnant women.

The rest of you can go to chemical purgatory.

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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:09 am 
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To my knowledge, no electrical or gas fired consumer product sold in the US is federally required to be tested and certified. However, OSHA requires all such products used in the workplace to be certified that they meet all applicable standards...even the microwave used in the breakroom.

And if a company manufactures a product that hasn't been certified, and someone brings a civil lawsuit alleging damages caused by that product, you can pretty much guarantee the company is going to lose. Badly. So, in effect though no federal law exists, there is plenty of incentive for the company to do the right thing. It seems with the state of the judicial system, a similar dynamic exists with the manufacturers of these "chemicals", and the companies that make products that use them.


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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:20 am 
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Interestingly, I agree with much of what has been proposed to fix TSCA in this bill. I'm quite happy that Udall stepped up to take Lautenberg's place after his death a few years ago. While this legislation/regulation is not perfect, it's a far sight better than the current reg and it's not so stupid as the European reg, REACH. While REACH has some advantages, compliance is extremely expensive with no discernible positives compared to the previous regulation.

The only reason we haven't had any TSCA updates in the last several years is Senator Boxer, who had refused to bring any proposals to vote with a preemption of state regulations in favor of the Federal law. With the shift to Republicans in charge of both houses of Congress, she's no longer in that power position and this is the first bill to have a chance of success. She's still fighting to introduce her own TSCA revamp bill, but with zero chance of success. She's retiring at the end of this term.

I'd be interested to hear what problems KGB has with the proposed law.

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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:56 am 
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scoob5555 wrote:
I'd be interested to hear what problems KGB has with the proposed law.


I know of it what Udall's newsletter has told me of it. I thought I made it pretty clear what that is: From Udall's description of the bill, it sounds like EPA will be instructed to discard any cost/benefit analysis in regulation, and look only at cost.


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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:22 pm 
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Here's a fair summary of the bill from Senator Vitter's website:
Quote:
Strengthens the Safety Standard
- Mandates that EPA base chemical safety decisions solely on considerations of risk to public health and the environment. The legislation makes clear that costs and benefits may not factor into a chemical safety evaluation.
- Eliminates TSCA’s “least burdensome” requirement for regulating a chemical, which prevented EPA from banning asbestos.

Mandates safety reviews for new and existing chemicals
- Requires that all chemicals in commerce, including those "grandfathered" under TSCA, undergo safety reviews.
- Requires a safety finding for new chemicals before they can enter the market.

Strengthens Protections for the Most Vulnerable
- Places greater emphasis on and requires protection of those who may be more exposed or particularly vulnerable to the effects of exposure to chemicals, and clearly defines them for the first time as including infants, children, pregnant women, workers and the elderly.

Sets Aggressive and Attainable Deadlines
- Imposes at least 15 deadlines for EPA action, developed with input from the Agency.

Creates additional requirements and sets reasonable limits on Confidential Business Information claims
- Requires that confidentiality claims be substantiated up front and imposes a 10-year, renewable time limit on such claims.
- Requires EPA to review claims that protect the identities of chemicals in commerce.

Preserves Existing Private Rights of Action
- Clarifies that the existing right of Americans to sue and seek damages when they believe harm has been done is not affected by the bill.
- Makes clear that nothing in the bill affects the ability of litigants to obtain confidential information in a judicial proceeding.

Balances State and Federal Regulations
- Grandfathers in State regulations on chemicals enacted prior to January 1, 2015.
- States can act to restrict a chemical until and unless EPA takes up that same chemical and addresses the same uses.
- State actions that do not restrict a chemical or are taken to address a different problem are not affected.
- Includes a waiver process for States to set different regulations than EPA during the safety assessment and after a final rule.
- Once EPA acts on a chemical substance, a uniform federal standard is applied across the nation, which creates more regulatory certainty and equally protects citizens across the country.

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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:28 pm 
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So I think there's a little misinterpretation here: for the chemical safety assessment (the hazard assessment), cost/benefit is not considered. But similar to the way ECHA is running REACH, the cost/benefit piece is added later in an overall risk assessment for the continued use of a chemical in particular uses. So while looking at hazards has made it into this, it's only the first step in the overall process.

We all still need more details, but it's too early in the legislative process to get into so much detail because much will change in the coming months in this and the House bills and merging them will see further changes to those details, so I and many others will keep our eyes on the legislation and report back when milestones are reached (or not).

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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:54 pm 
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scoob5555 wrote:
So I think there's a little misinterpretation here: for the chemical safety assessment (the hazard assessment), cost/benefit is not considered. But similar to the way ECHA is running REACH, the cost/benefit piece is added later in an overall risk assessment for the continued use of a chemical in particular uses. So while looking at hazards has made it into this, it's only the first step in the overall process.


That's a whole lot saner than what was described in my senator's newsletter.

Which means he is still a flaming idiot.


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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:31 pm 
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Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Science 27 March 2015
News
Reform of toxics law is contentious
The law has drawn bipartisan support and support from both industry and environmental groups. However, it is apparently being blocked more or less single-handedly by Barbara Boxer, who objects to the bills provisions forbidding state governments from writing their own (presumably stricter) regulations (existing state laws would be grandfathered, so Proposition 65 would stay, but no new regulations could take effect). Boxer claims this provision makes the bill "worse than the current law".


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 Post subject: Re: My senator is a flaming idiot
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:29 am 
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And while she continues to be wrong, she's no longer in a position to kill the legislation. The rest of the Senate committee is working on the Lautenberg bill in earnest.

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