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Keeping Our Children Safe

For most parents, a trip to the pharmacy shopping for baby products is a routine experience. And while we make choices on which products to buy for any number of reasons, we would never imagine any one of these products could be unsafe. We have faith that baby products are safe for our kids because our government wouldn't allow toxic chemicals in children's shampoos, pillows or toys.

But, the truth is, we are going on faith alone. When I arrived in the Senate I was shocked to learn that regulators have been prevented from testing all of the 70,000 chemicals found in everyday home products. In fact, due to a variety of obstacles, the Environmental Protection Agency has only tested 200 of them. As a mother and a legislator, I find this unacceptable. We must bring our nation's chemical safety laws into the 21st Century.

Here is a bit of history. Back in 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a law that was meant to give the EPA the tools to research and regulate chemicals found in everyday products from shampoos, to sippy cups, to shower curtains. Nearly 40 years later only 5 chemicals have been successfully regulated.

I have read too many studies and reports that have found toxic chemicals in everyday products. Since TSCA became law, we have seen an unacceptable rise in cases of childhood cancers, learning disabilities, birth defects, asthma, allergies, autism and infertility. Our children are being exposed to these toxic chemicals before they are even born. Umbilical cord blood samples show exposure to over 200 chemicals ranging from BPA, which is found in plastic bottles, flame retardants, which are used in TV's and furniture, and PCB's, a known-carcinogen that remains in our soil and water.

It is clear that TSCA has failed, and we need to fix it.

To continue reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-kirsten-gillibrand/keeping-our-children-safe_b_923117.html
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