Proposition 65 co-author David Roe has published an opinion piece in the New York Times instructing its readers how they can fast track the regulation of toxic chemicals California style.
In his article, Mr. Roe tells readers to look to California for the solution to cut through regulatory gridlock of chemical regulation at the federal level by adopting the methods used to list chemicals under Proposition 65.
“Endless delay in controlling toxic chemicals is so familiar that your editorial [department] takes it for granted, urging a mere 20 chemicals a year, instead of the Senate bill’s proposed five a year.”
Roe is referring to the latest in a line of failed Senate bills purporting to overhaul the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Roe states that the so-called reformers advocating the latest TSCA reform bill “ignore that California regulators have managed to review – and set enforceable limits on more than 300 chemicals – at a pace of over 100 chemicals a year.” [Please note we were unable to verify the accuracy of Roe’s numbers].*
“Most of these same chemicals are the ones stuck in the Environmental Protection Agency waiting line a quarter of a century later,” Roe added.
He notes that “these chemicals have been already effectively regulated using the same science as federal laws such as the hopelessly damaged Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).”
“In other words, the EPA could make 100 years of progress in safety assessments of high priority chemicals just by being allowed to bring a copy machine to Sacramento!,” Roe concluded.
It will be interesting to see how Roe’s opinion piece is received by readers of the New York Times. Usually the reader comments from the New York Times would disparage the author as “another lunatic from the land of fruits and nuts,” but one can only hope that the article would at least highlight that the federal agencies tasked with the duty of regulating chemical safety have a long history of accomplishing practically nothing.
*Regulatory limits have been established under Proposition 65 for approximately 300 distinct chemicals, but this was done over a period of 28 years according to data provided by the California Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).