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Let’s be Frank: Is Star Power Enough to Pass Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act of 2011?

Posted: 05/26/11 at 2:41 PM

By Dan Newton, Manager, Government Relations -

Famous actress Jessica Alba recently went on a lobbying spree to urge Congress to pass Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, a bill that would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This will be the fourth iteration of a TSCA reform bill the 87-year-old Senator has introduced over the years, all of which never got out of committee. As a spokeswoman for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, Alba raised the issue of chemicals in products as near and dear to her, the impetus of her awareness being her first pregnancy four years ago. She is now pregnant with her second child.

She told a reporter she is in Washington, DC, to support Lautenberg’s bill. Alba is deeply concerned about a wide range of consumer products containing toxic chemicals and is calling for sweeping revisions to the law that regulates industrial chemicals.  She said, “Like most people, I thought the government regulated chemicals the way they regulated drugs. I was wrong.”

Her publicity will likely generate interest among moms to call for sweeping changes to the statute. She may even get some Maxim readers/viewers to join forces, too. While just about all stakeholders agree the statute needs to be modernized, including SOCMA, sweeping changes based on non-science and hysteria would only cripple an already struggling industry in tough economic times, not making anyone any safer. We should all support a carefully tailored approach at the end of the day.

Steps continue to be made in the right direction, but it is highly doubtful this bill will ever gain traction and get the needed bipartisan support to move. More work needs to be done before passage in this Congress…unless star power can trump science.

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