Bi-Partisan Effort in Congress Falls Short

Posted on Aug 13, 2013

Safety firstThe Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow is united in our efforts to prevent harm to health from toxic chemicals that are contributing to the largest health epidemics of our times -- cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and many more. Our major national chemical safety policy, the Toxics Substances Control Act of 1976, is widely viewed as outdated and deeply flawed, resulting in hazardous chemicals being found in everyday household and workplace products that expose our families to hidden health threats.

Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow has worked for many years, as part of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and SAFER States coalitions, to build momentum for reforms that would better protect our health and stimulate green chemistry innovations. This summer, the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced a new bill, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), in the U.S. Senate that signals bi-partisan interest in finally moving beyond our failed policies of the past. The bill needs significant amendments to effectively advance the new protections we believe are vital to safer chemicals and 21st century innovations. Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow member groups have developed a set of recommondations to improve the bill and meet our goals. We are also continuing to press for reforms at the state level in Massachusetts so that safer alternatives replace toxic chemicals locally. The bill’s federal preemption provisions are too broad, which limit state actions on certain chemicals falling into the low or high prioritized categories. The improvements and recommendations put forward by Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow would greatly enhance the effectiveness of this bill and only if these amendments are made, will the bill have our support.

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Support Toxics Legislation in Massachusetts

Posted on Apr 30, 2013

Researcher_250A great step toward safer chemicals and consumer products was taken here in Massachusetts late last month. The Environment Committee gave a favorable report to S.354, An Act for Healthy Families and Businesses, sponsored by Senator Ken Donnelly, accompanying S.387 - a similar bill filed by Senator Marc Pacheco.  The bills are now before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Take action! Help us move The Healthy Families and Businesses Act even closer to becoming law by writing to your senator and asking him or her to support the bill.

A hearing held by the Environment Committee proved that stronger toxics legislation has huge support across the state. Ten Massachusetts citizens, including senators, nurses, activists, and business owners, all testified in support of the bill, while just three industry representatives testified against it. Supporters named friends and relatives who have been diagnosed with cancer and other chronic illnesses linked to toxic chemicals and shared their worries about the cost of failing to act. Throughout the hearing, the bill was lauded as a comprehensive and commonsense solution to the problem of toxic chemicals.

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Action on Toxics Happening at State AND Federal Levels

Posted on Apr 24, 2013

CapitolStateHouse_250Whether they know it or not, American families are exposed to toxic substances like lead, mercury, and formaldehyde everyday in their own homes. Our country’s system for regulating toxic chemicals is broken, allowing toxic chemicals to find their way into common household items like laundry detergent, couches, and even baby shampoo.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the only law our nation has guiding regulation of toxic chemicals—it has not been updated since 1976. Since that time, hundreds of new chemicals have entered the market and our homes without being tested for safety. Meanwhile, the rates of chronic illnesses like asthma, cancer, and reproductive and developmental have continued to rise.

Thankfully, legislators are taking action to protect our families and both the state and federal levels. Read about what is being done in the Massachusetts State House and in the US Capitol Building.

Introducing the Healthy Families and Businesses Act

Posted on Jan 29, 2013

photo by treehouse1977We all know someone living with cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, birth defects, or another devastating health problem linked to toxic chemicals. Massachusetts can protect the health of citizens and save in health care costs by passing legislation that would replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives wherever feasible.Thankfully, such legislation has been filed in the State House: the Healthy Families and Businesses Act. 

An Act for Healthy Families and Businesses (H.235/S.354) was filed by Rep. Jay Kaufman and Sen. Kenneth Donnelly. It is a new version of the Safer Alternatives Bill, which AHT supported in previous years.

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Stroller Brigade in Boston

Posted on Jul 3, 2012

Coalition for Social Justice"Any event that starts with juice boxes has to be a good event," said Senator Katherine Clark, the lead sponsor of the Safer Alternatives Bill, as she addressed the stroller brigaders on the Boston Common.

The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and many Massachusetts moms and kids came together on June 28th for a Stroller Brigade to support safer chemicals. Kids wore superhero capes and decorated cards to give to Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Stephen Brewer and Senate President Therese Murray, asking them to "be our hero" and bring the Safer Alternatives Bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

The groups represented at the rally were Clean Water Action, Coalition for Social Justice/Coalition Against Poverty (pictured above), Massachusetts Teachers Association, Health Care Without Harm, and Medfield Green.

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22 Senators Call for Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Feb 4, 2012

Clark, DiDomenico, Donnelly, Chang-DiazSenator Katherine Clark is a mother, Senator Sal DiDomenico is a father, Senator Ken Donnelly is a former firefighter, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz is concerned about the damaging effects that toxic chemicals can have on low-income communities in her district.  These senators have very personal reasons to support the Safer Alternatives Bill. They all want to vote for it. 

The problem is they may never get that chance because many bills never get voted on.  During the past few weeks, Senators had the opportunity to make it known that they want to vote for the Safer Alternatives Bill and more than half of them did. 

The Safer Alternatives Bill is currently before the Senate Ways and Means Committee (W&M). Senator Mark Pacheco wrote a letter to W&M Chairman, Senator Stephen Brewer, to ask him to give the bill a "favorable report," and invited other senators to sign the letter with him.  AHT supporters helped by calling their Senators and asking them to sign on, with great results.  22 Senators signed that letter and/or wrote their own letters to Senator Brewer.

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A toxics-free New Year's resolution for the MA Senate

Posted on Jan 3, 2012

Call State HouseFrom all of us at the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Happy New Year! The legislative session resumes today, and protection from toxic chemicals should be a top priority for senators in 2012.

Please call your state senator and ask him or her to make a New Year's Resolution to pass the Safer Alternatives Bill.

Step 1: Find out who your state senator is if you don't know already.

Step 2: Place your calls. Use the State House Switchboard: 617-722-2000 or find their direct office numbers. When you reach your senator, or one of their staff members, tell them your name and where you live, and urge them to:

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A hurdle cleared: Safer Alternatives Bill reported out of committee

Posted on Nov 16, 2011

Safer Alternatives Bill clears a hurdle

In Massachusetts those seeking to protect themselves and their families from toxic chemicals linked to cancer, asthma, reproductive disorders, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, learning disabilities and more have been waiting (and advocating) for a long time for passage of a law to help with that task.  The Safer Alternatives Bill, which will require companies using toxic chemicals to use safer alternatives when they're available is in its 9th year before the state legislature.

This week that bill has cleared the first hurdle in it's journey towards becoming a law in the 2011-2012 legislative session: the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture released the bill on Tuesday.

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Video: Why we support the Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Oct 19, 2011

Coalition for Social Justice"My grandfather passed away from cancer using similar products that we use [in our autobody shop] on a daily basis."

"My younger sister has Aspergers."

"Shifting the chemical industry onto a safer path actually helps the entire US economy and you'll see jobs being created."

"My dad was recently diagnosed with emphysema and he worked next to an asbestos landfill and was a mechanic for a very long time.  He worked with lots of toxic chemicals."

"It's priceless the cost of your life. You can't put a dollar on life and health."

These are just a few of the motivations that brought advocates, business owners, health care providers and economic experts together at the Massachusetts State House on a July morning this summer. This powerful team came together to testify in support of the Safer Alternatives Bill which will create a program to replace toxic chemicals in our products, workplaces, and communities with safer alternatives. We captured their stories in a powerful video.

Watch the video to hear from some of these people about why they have joined the effort to pass the Safer Alternatives Bill and protect our health from toxic chemicals, then share it with your friends, family, colleagues...and your legislators.

Take Action:

As Kelly Johnson said, "It's time to do the right thing."

Take ActionShare this video with your Massachusetts state legislators today.  Encourage them to watch the video and to heed its message. 

Then use one of the buttons at the top of this page to share the video with your friends.

The event that this group came together for was a public hearing on the Safer Alternatives Bill held by the Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.  Read more about the hearing.

Environment Committee Chairs voice support for Safer Alternatives

Posted on Jul 15, 2011

Nurses testify in support of the Safer Alternatives Bill The case for safer alternatives to toxic chemicals certainly ruled the day at the Massachusetts Legislature's Environment Committee hearing on Tuesday.  And what a team effort it was that made that happen.

The team of 19 experts and advocates giving testimony in support of the Safer Alternatives Bill did a phenomenal job and covered a wide range of topics.  Starting off the day was Tiffany Skogstrom of the Boston Public Health Commission talking about the Commission's successful program to support auto body shops in the city to replace certain toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.  She was followed by Bobby Haynes, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO who, in no uncertain terms, debunked the industry-lobbyist-promoted myth that this bill will lose jobs in the state. Tedd Saunders, co-owner of the Saunders Hotel Group which owns and operates hotels up and down the eastern seabord backed that up by talking about his company's successful efforts to bring safer alternatives into their hotels.

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Take Action: Safer Alternatives Bill hearing coming soon

Posted on Jun 29, 2011

Safer Alternatives On July 12th the Environment Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature will hold a public hearing on the Safer Alternatives Bill.  This is the Alliance's opportunity to show the huge support for the bill that exists among academic experts, medical professionals, labor unions, advocacy groups, and the general public.  We are working to put together a line up of people to testify who can represent that diversity of support and articulate the positive impacts that this bill will have on health, the environment, and the economy in Massachusetts.

Another group of supporters who are needed to help make the case for the bill at the hearing are legislators.  Massachusetts residents, that's where you come in! There are 78 state legislators who co-sponsored the bill this session and even more who support it.  But co-sponsoring is just the beginning.  If legislators don't keep advocating for the bill throughout the session, it will never be brought to a vote (so far it's been over 8 years that this bill has been pending). This hearing is one opportunity for them to actively support the bill, and they might need a nudge from you to make it happen.

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78 Legislators Co-sponsor Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Feb 10, 2011

78 legislators co-sponsor the Safer Alternatives Bill Thanks to phone calls, emails and office visits from dozens of you, 78 Massachusetts State Legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the Safer Alternatives Bill by last Friday's deadline. 

For those of you who like numbers, of those 78:

Get the full list of co-sponsors here.

One highlight is that Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) is among the co-sponsors this year. He is the new Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture where the bill will next be assigned, and thus is in an influential position to help it move forward.

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Mass. and 29 other states announce chemical reform legislation

Posted on Jan 25, 2011

States_Map_2011_250 Last week, in response to continued public concern over the presence of dangerous chemicals in common household products and Congressional inaction on the matter, legislators in Massachusetts and twenty-nine other states announced legislation aimed at protecting children, families and workers from harmful chemicals. Despite well-funded opposition from the chemical industry, 18 state legislatures have already passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin – with more to come this year.

Massachusetts legislators are filing the Safer Alternatives Bill that would replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives in every day products, and introducing a resolution calling on Congress to overhaul the main federal chemical safety law, the Toxics Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).

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Recruiting co-sponsors for the Safer Alternatives Bill in 2011

Posted on Jan 25, 2011

Ask your legislators to co-sponsor the Safer Alternatives Bill The Safer Alternatives Bill, sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman and Senator Steven Tolman, will create a pragmatic and flexible program to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, wherever feasible. This bill has been before the legislature for eight years now but has never been brought to a vote in both houses.  It's time to make it happen this year! Please call your state legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.

Step 1: Find out who your State Representative and Senator are if you don't know already.

Step 2: Find out if they have already co-sponsored the bill this session

Step 3: Place your calls

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Safer Alternatives Bill Co-sponsors 2011

Posted on Jan 24, 2011

The following Representatives and Senators have co-sponsored the Safer Alternatives Bill, An Act for a Competitive Economy Through Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals, in the 2011-2012 legislative session. 

Senators (20):

Harriette Chandler
Sonia Chang-Diaz
Katherine Clark
Cynthia Creem
Sal DiDomenico
Ken Donnelly
Eileen Donoghue
Jaime Eldridge
Susan Fargo
Pat Jehlen
Brian Joyce
Thomas McGee
Mark Montigny
Michael Moore
Marc Pacheco
Stanley Rosenberg
Richard Ross
Karen Spilka
James Timilty
Steven Tolman (lead sponsor)

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Business opposition halts progress on Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Aug 2, 2010

MA State House” title= At midnight on Saturday night, July 31st, the buzzer went off on the “formal session” part of the 2009-2010 legislative session in Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, the Safer Alternatives Bill as not among the lineup of bills that were passed this time around.

Anyone who has been watching or reading the news in Massachusetts in recent weeks has heard about the stalemate in the legislature as the House, the Senate and the Governor debate casino gambling.  It’s tempting to take the easy way out and grumble about how the casino bill held up everything else, and that’s definitely true for many bills, but for the Safer Alternatives Bill, that’s not really the whole story.

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Safer Alternatives Bill receives a "favorable report"

Posted on Jul 8, 2010

ChemicalsThe Bisphenol A (BPA) public comment period is over, and there is a good chance for a positive outcome for this regulation. However, BPA is only one chemical out of hundreds that we come into contact with everyday. Our government should require companies to use safer alternatives to protect us from many of the harmful chemicals that we are exposed to in our lives. Innovation should be encouraged to keep us as safe from toxic hazards as current science allows.

Cue the Safer Alternatives Bill!  

The Safer Alternatives Bill, An Act for a Competitive Economy Through Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals (H-4865), is sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) and Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton). It will create a pragmatic and flexible program in Massachusetts to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, wherever feasible.

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Experts and advocates testify at Safer Alternatives Bill Hearing

Posted on Nov 10, 2009

Hearing_Collage_250 On Monday November 2nd the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow turned out in force for a hearing on the Safer Alternatives Bill at the Massachusetts State House.  The hearing was held by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture with Chairmen Representative William Straus and Senator Anthony Petruccelli presiding.

The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow organized a powerful lineup of experts and advocates to testify in support of the bill.  Those who testified came from a wide array of constituencies and areas of expertise including business, labor, those affected by illnesses linked to toxic chemicals, faith communities, scientists, economists, environmental and public health advocates, parents, and more.

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The Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Feb 13, 2009

Safety

The Safer Alternatives Bill, An Act for a Competitive Economy Through Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals, is sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) and Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton). It will create a pragmatic and flexible program in Massachusetts to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, wherever feasible.

In this economy, the bill is needed more than ever. The Safer Alternatives program will help Massachusetts businesses stay competitive on the global market which is rapidly moving towards a demand for safer products and services. The program will be funded by a fee on toxic chemicals brought into the state primarily by out-of-state firms.

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Safer Alternatives Bill Co-sponsors 2009

Posted on Feb 13, 2009

The following Representatives and Senators co-sponsored the Safer Alternatives Bill,H-757 & S-442 An Act for a Competitive Economy Through Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals, in the 2009-2010 legislative session.  If your Representative or Senator is a co-sponsor, please thank him or her!

State Representatives (total 98)

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Ask your legislators to co-sponsor the Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Jan 5, 2009

Contact Your LegislatorThe Safer Alternatives Bill, sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman and Senator Steven Tolman, will create a pragmatic and flexible program to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, wherever feasible. In 2008 the bill passed the Senate but not the House and so this session we need your help to make sure that the bill passes both houses! Please call your state legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.

Step 1: Find out who your State Representative and Senator are if you don't know already.

Step 2: Find out if they have already co-sponsored the bill this session

Step 3: Place your calls

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85 Representatives sign letter to Speaker DiMasi

Posted on Jun 23, 2008

Support Safer Alternatives BillIn January 2008 the Massachusetts Senate passed the Safer Alternatives Bill unanimously. 

The bill is now before the House Committee on Ways and Means.  For the bill to be passed in the House, gaining the suport of Speaker Sal DiMasi is essential.  To show the speaker the widespread support for the bill, three Representatives, Jaime Eldridge (D-Acton), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), and Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland) led 85 of their colleagues in the House in signing a letter of support for the Safer Alternatives Bill that was delivered to Speaker DiMasi in June 2008. 

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"New Shower Curtain Smell"

Posted on Jun 12, 2008

New Report: More Than 100 Toxic Chemicals Released from PVC Shower CurtainsNew Report: More Than 100 Toxic Chemicals Released From PVC Shower Curtains.

Legislators and Advocates Press for House Vote on Safer Alternatives Bill

Over 100 toxic chemicals associated with adverse health effects are released into the air from PVC vinyl shower curtains. These chemicals make up that "new shower curtain smell" unique to PVC vinyl shower curtains and shower curtain liners, according to "Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell," a new study released today by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, and the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ).

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Legislation to Reign in Toxic Chemical Use Passes in Senate

Posted on Jan 29, 2008

Precedent-setting Safer Alternatives Bill Will Prevent Illnesses

Legislation to Reign in Toxic Chemical Use Passes in SenateBoston, MA - Today the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation that will safeguard public health by replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. Supporters of An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals (The Safer Alternatives Bill) praised the Senate's action that takes the bill one step closer to becoming law. The bill would also help Massachusetts expand trade with foreign markets that have recently tightened toxic chemical standards such as the European Union.

Led by Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton) and Senator Pam Resor (D-Acton), efforts to move the bill forward in the Senate gained momentum in the wake of last year's product recalls over hazardous ingredients such as lead in children's toys and lipstick.

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Legislative Priorities 2007 - 2008

Posted on Jan 6, 2008

Time is TickingTop Legislative Priority: The Safer Alternatives Bill S-2481 - An Act Providing for Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals

Sponsors: Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington), Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton)

The Safer Alternatives Bill will establish a pragmatic, gradual approach to reducing health impacts from many toxic chemicals we are exposed to in everyday life.

This approach targets the worst toxic chemicals in Massachusetts—chemicals that are currently replaceable with safer alternatives for many uses.

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Legislation to Curb Toxic Chemicals Sent to the Senate

Posted on Nov 5, 2007

Senate FloorIn a decisive step towards protecting the public from the effects of unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture gave a “favorable report” to the An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals.

The Safer Alternatives Bill, as it is commonly called, was proposed by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow in response to a growing body of scientific evidence linking exposure to hazardous chemicals to chronic diseases.

The Safer Alternatives Bill is designed to prevent diseases and disorders such as cancer, asthma, developmental or learning disabilities, infertility, diabetes and Parkinson’s.

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Debate Underway on Legislation to Curb Toxic Chemicals

Posted on Jun 11, 2007

Cleaning Supplies may contain toxinsBill Will Prevent Illnesses by Calling for Safer Alternatives.

Last week, officials in the European Union began implementing a major new law that will replace thousands of dangerous chemicals with alternatives.

Meanwhile, the debate has been renewed over legislation proposed in Massachusetts that would create a smaller scale program based on the same principles as the EU law. Supporters and opponents of "An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals" (H-783/S-558) gathered at the State House on Monday to debate legislation that would protect public health and prevent disease by replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.

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Hundreds Push for Safer Alternatives

Posted on May 10, 2007

Massachusetts State HouseOn Thursday (May 10th), in honor of Mother's Day, hundreds of concerned residents from across Massachusetts descended upon the State House to lobby their state legislators about the need to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.

Scientists are increasingly finding links between chemicals often found in common household products like cleaners, cosmetics and plastic with a variety of diseases and disorders including cancer, asthma and learning disabilities. Among the attendees of the lobby day were parents, ministers, teachers, workers, students, health advocates, doctors and many others.

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Safer Alternatives Bill Co-Sponsors 2007-2008

Posted on Feb 28, 2007

Safer Alternatives Bill Co-Sponsors 2007-2008

To find out who your legislators are go to www.wheredoivotema.com.

Representatives (80)

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Majority of Legislators Support Safer Alternatives Bill

Posted on Jan 23, 2007

Support Safer Alternatives BillAs the European Union moves ahead with new reforms that modernize toxic
chemical policies, momentum builds in Massachusetts for similar measures that would replace commonly used toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. A majority of legislators in both houses of the Massachusetts legislature are co-sponsoring “An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals.”

The bill, sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman (DLexington) and Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton) initially targets 10 of the worst toxic chemicals found in common household products such as dry cleaning, pesticides, solvents, building materials, foam cushions, and electronics.

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