From The Michigan Messenger:

Amid growing concerns about the health effects of chemical exposure, the Obama administration has laid out a plan to strengthen federal regulation of the chemical industry.

In a Sept. 29 speech at the California Commonwealth Club, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson called the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act an “inadequate tool” and presented a set of guidelines that she said should steer efforts to improve regulation of chemicals….

Unlike pharmaceutical chemicals, which are often only available by prescription and only after they are evaluated for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manufacturers are required to divulge information about possible side effects, industrial chemicals — found in plastics, food packaging, cleaning products, building materials, furniture, medical supplies and a host of consumer products — are generally not reviewed for safety by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…

Although more than 80,000 chemicals have been manufactured, since the 1976 enactment of the Toxic Substances Control Act, EPA has only declared five unsafe…

“Every few weeks, we read about new potential threats,” Jackson said, “Bisphenol A, or BPA — a chemical that can affect brain development and has been linked to obesity and cancer — is in baby bottles; phthalate esters — which have been said to affect reproductive development — are in our medical devices; we see lead in toys; dioxins in fish; and the list goes on.”

In the absence of effective federal regulation, some states, such as California have enacted chemical regulations of their own. The Michigan House of Representatives has also passed several bills designed to limit chemical exposure.

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