Regulation of chemical products: the weight of lobbying on the legislator

03/26/2021


You are probably waiting for the legislator to protect you from the health risks of chemical products, but the industrialists are committing colossal means to obtain less restrictive regulations that are contrary to the public's health concerns.

Therefore, we encourage you to take control of the pollution in your home to effectively protect yourself from toxic chemicals in your home or workplace. If you are waiting for the legislator to protect you, you may be disappointed as it seems that it is very difficult to get a toxic substance banned by law.

The Chemical Watch website has just published some very interesting figures on the chemical bills that have been proposed in 2020 in the US. The constant is quite dismaying and shows the gap that exists between some politicians' words and the power of the lobbies linked to the chemical industries that fight any attempt at regulation.

In 2020, in the 50 American states, 299 bills concerning chemical products were introduced. In decreasing order of quantity, the subjects associated with chemicals were the following:

    79 bills for food contact (to ensure that packaging in contact with food does not pose a toxic risk)
    72 projects for retail rules
    47 projects on children's products and toys (plasticizer additives)
    40 projects on personal care products
    37 projects on fire fighting (Flame retardant additives)
    21 projects on textiles and clothing
    16 projects on cleaning products
    12 projects on construction and decoration materials
    11 projects on cosmetics
    7 projects for electronic products
    5 projects for automotive and aerospace

This has become obvious but it shows how chemicals are present in all aspects of our contemporary lives.

Of these 299 bills:

    29 were dropped before the vote.
    208 were not voted on by the first chamber that considered them.
    24 were voted on by the first chamber but not the second.
    4 were vetoed by a governor.
    1 was not ratified by the governor.
    33 became law.

In the end, nine out of ten bills were opposed by the chemical industry in the USA in 2020.

The states with the most bills on the subject in 2020 are New York, California and Hawaii. The states with the most ratifications are California, New York and Maryland.

It is interesting to note that some of the population of Hawaii is in the grip of the chemical pesticide industry, which has been using portions of the islands for years to test its new products. Despite the large number of bills introduced to obtain better regulation in this state, the chemical industry continues to have its bills rejected.

Twelve of the bills concerned the disclosure of ingredients in chemical products. The sacrosanct manufacturing secret so dear to many industrialists. In this field, only two texts out of the twelve became laws!

The legislator is only interested in the subject when serious health effects appear in the exposed population. Only the substances that receive the most media coverage and are the subject of real public health concerns are therefore the subject of legislative proposals. Here are the substances most concerned by bills in the United States in 2020.

    PFAAs with 93 bills (non-stick, anti-stain and waterproofing additives)
    Bisphenol A with 28 projects (plasticizer additive)
    Perfluorooctanoic acid PFAO with 18 projects (Non-stick, anti-stain and waterproofing additives)
    Formaldehyde with 15 projects (Biocide, particleboard)
    Polystyrene with 14 projects (Plastic)
    Mercury with 12 projects (Heavy metal)
    Di-butyl phthalate with 10 projects (Plasticiser additive)
    Antimony with 9 projects (Metal)
    Triclosan with 9 projects (Biocide)

Already in 2009, there were 65 million chemicals on the market. The number of regulated chemicals is now very low compared to this figure. The task is therefore enormous for legislators and the action of lobbies slows down this process.


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