Protecting Public Health in Alaska: The Opportunity of the Safe Chemicals Act

September 5, 2012
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Americans assume that chemicals used to make ordinary products are tested for safety—but they are not. With each new scientific report linking toxic chemical exposure to a serious health problem, it becomes more obvious that the law intended to keep harmful chemicals in check—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976—is not working. Congress is finally taking action to update our federal chemicals policy. We now have the opportunity to take immediate action on the most dangerous chemicals, hold industry responsible for the safety of their chemicals and products, and use the best science to protect all people. On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, speakers discussed what the new law would do and what it would take to ensure passage of a sound and comprehensive policy that protects public health and the environment.

Featured Speakers

Richard Denison, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Defense Fund. Richard has 27 years of experience in the environmental arena, specializing in policy, hazard and risk assessment and management of industrial chemicals and nanomaterials. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology and its Standing Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions. He serves on the Green Ribbon Science Panel for California's Green Chemistry Initiative.

Andy Igrejas, national campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Prior to working for the campaign, Igrejas headed the Environmental Health Program at the National Environmental Trust for seven years, and continued in the position when that organization merged with the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2008. In that role, Igrejas helped put chemical policy reform on the national agenda through work on the Kid-Safe Chemical Act. Igrejas also led NET’s work on chemical security, right–to-know, food safety, and California initiatives like the successful campaign for the Safe Cosmetics Act.

Maureen Swanson, national coordinator of the Healthy Children Project of the Learning Disabilities Association of America focused on raising awareness of toxic chemicals linked to learning and developmental disabilities, and reducing exposures to toxic chemicals, especially among pregnant women, infants and children. Prior to her position with LDA, Maureen was a senior policy analyst with the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, and an independent environmental policy consultant, working with clients in government, private corporations and academia. She holds a master's degree from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University.