March of Dimes Hails Vote on Chemical Safety Reform

Bipartisan Bill Would Give EPA Tools to Ensure Safety of Chemicals for Pregnant Women, Children and Babies

WASHINGTON | Thursday, December 17, 2015

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The March of Dimes praised the U.S. Senate today for passing S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  This legislation takes critical steps to overhaul the federal regulatory law for chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which is universally viewed as antiquated and ineffective.  

“Today, the U.S. Senate voted to improve the health of pregnant women, women of childbearing age, babies and children,” stated March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse.  “Our nation’s chemical safety laws are decades overdue for reform.  This bill brings us one step closer to having a functional, effective regulatory system for the tens of thousands of chemicals in our homes, products and environment.”

Chemical safety has particularly important implications for maternal and child health.  Studies have revealed associations between adverse birth outcomes and exposure to substances such as solvents, phthalates, and chemicals like Bisphenol A.  At the same time, however, chemicals and other toxic substances play a vital role in modern everyday life.  The March of Dimes therefore believes it is critical that the federal government establish a system of review and regulation that permits certain uses while preventing dangerous exposures, particularly for more vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.

“The March of Dimes would particularly like to express our gratitude to the bill’s sponsors, Senators Tom Udall and David Vitter, for their incredible tenacity on chemical safety,” Dr. Howse added.  “Given the hurdles this bill faced, it would have been easy to give up the cause as unattainable.  Senator Udall and Senator Vitter have persevered through countless obstacles to bring this legislation to passage today.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of TSCA reform legislation, H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act, on June 23.  The differences between S. 697 and H.R. 2576 will have to be reconciled in order to produce a final bill that can be passed and sent to the President.  In March, March of Dimes Chief Medical Officer Dr. Edward R.B. McCabe testified in support of TSCA reform, and the March of Dimes has been outspoken in calling upon Congress to advance the reform process.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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