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Health: Activists, Hollywood Star Lobby Senate To Update Federal Chemical Control Law

by Cheryl Hogue
October 31, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 44

Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN
Actress Jennifer Beals, right, leads a “Stroller Brigade” of protestors seeking reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Capitol Hill, Oct. 29, 2013.
Credit: Cheryl Hogue/C&EN

Health and environmental activists, joined by actress Jennifer Beals, rallied on Capitol Hill last week to urge senators to modernize the federal law governing commercial chemicals.

Monica Unseld of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, left, and Beals, known for her roles on television programs and in movies including “Flashdance,” led children, parents, and others in a “stroller brigade” to lobby senators. Hosting the Oct. 29 event was Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of activist groups that says the 36-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) fails to protect public health.

“I am tired of having chemical companies’ untested concoctions run through my veins uninvited,” Beals said at the rally, noting that TSCA does not require companies to conduct toxicity studies on a substance before it enters commerce. Manufacturers say they do study their substances.

Beals called on companies to come up with safer substances. “Dow, DuPont, ExxonMobil, we know you have the talent pool to do better, to come up with truly green chemicals,” Beals said.

Negotiations in the Senate on industry-backed, bipartisan legislation to update TSCA (S. 1009) are ongoing.


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