Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, told a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health that such little oversight means that children in the United States are virtual “guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment.”
“Our current law does not allow EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] scientists to draw the bright line between chemicals that are safe and those that are toxic,” the senator said in the hearing, which was held at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in his home state.
Lautenberg has introduced legislation that would require chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their products before they’re released into the market. He said the current law — the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 — is too lax, resulting in the banning of five chemicals in the past 34 years.
A toxic history lesson
The subcommittee is examining how chemicals that Americans are exposed to in daily life might be harming the health of children, including those developing in the womb, after a growing number of studies are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in the bodies of mothers, and subsequently, in their babies after birth.