"Obama Administration Calls for Chemical-Law Reform"

"With more and more toxic chemicals turning up in people's bodies and the environment, the Obama administration asked Congress Tuesday to draft a tougher law for how the government regulates tens of thousands of chemicals.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson called the 32-year-old statute governing toxic substances a flawed tool for protecting the public from the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been introduced on the market. Those chemicals, which do not include pesticides or drugs, are used in everything from cell phones to plastic drinking-water bottles. Not all of them are still in use, experts said.

'The American people are looking to the government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science and unacceptable risks haven't been ignored,' Jackson said in a conference call with reporters before a formal announcement in San Francisco. 'Unfortunately, the current law does not allow us to grant them that assurance.'

Jackson said recent scares with lead in toys, dioxin in fish and phthalate esters -- plastic-hardening chemicals used in intravenous bags, where they can enter a patient's blood stream -- are making the public 'understandably anxious and confused.'"

Dina Cappiello reports for the Associated Press September 29, 2009.

Source: AP, 09/30/2009