Preventing A Thousand Flints: Getting Reform Of Chemical Regulation Right

Health Affairs, blog 23 May 32016
Authors: Leonardo Trasande and Bruce Lanphear
“The contamination of water with lead in Flint, Michigan has rightly refocused national attention on the ongoing tragedy of childhood lead exposure in the United States. As John Oliver has rightly and wittily noted, water is but one source of exposure; another compelling tragedy is our ongoing failure to fund the control of lead-based paint hazards, which represent a large and preventable source of childhood lead exposure. …The costs of lead poisoning are likely to pale in comparison with a broader, unknown set of synthetic chemical hazards commonly found in the environment. There are over 85,000 such chemicals in widespread use, with over 600 new chemicals introduced each year. Yet the current law for managing chemical hazards, which was promulgated in 1976 as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), grandfathered-in 60,000 chemicals that were already in use and gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) little power to require proof of safety for newly manufactured chemicals.”
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