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May 24, 2011

Star Power

TSCA Reform: Jessica Alba joins push to revise federal chemical law

Cheryl Hogue

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Alba brought her star power to Congress to focus attention on TSCA reform.

Discussions about modernizing the 35-year-old federal chemical control law have, thus far, been decidedly unsexy. Now, Hollywood star Jessica Alba is injecting pizazz into efforts to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Alba appeared in Washington today to support a bill (S. 847) sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to rewrite TSCA.

Star of the television series "Dark Angel" and the films "Fantastic Four" and "Sin City," Alba is the new spokeswoman for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. That coalition is lobbying for revisions to TSCA that go significantly beyond reforms supported by chemical manufacturers. The coalition consists of environmental and health activists, parents' organizations, health care providers, and companies seeking safer substances for the products they use, make, or sell.

Speaking at a news conference in the Capitol, Alba called for Congress to overhaul TSCA.

"Like many other moms out there, I try to buy safe products for my family, but that can't be the only solution. You can't hire a team of scientists to do your shopping for you," she said. "At some point the government has to step in and ensure that chemicals are safe before our children are exposed to them."

Andy Igrejas, campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said, "Jessica is the perfect spokesperson for the mom power that is driving this campaign."

"Jessica Alba is helping to deliver a message from America's mothers: Untested chemicals belong in labs, not in the bodies of our children," Lautenberg said. He contended that his bill "would ensure that the chemicals we are exposed to every day have been tested and proven safe for mothers, children, and all Americans."

In response, Scott Jensen, spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, an association of chemical manufacturers, said, "We agree that the Toxic Substances Control Act needs to be modernized to further ensure the safe use of chemicals and the innovation of new products."

Lautenberg, chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics & Environmental Health, says he intends to push for legislative action on S. 847 this summer.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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