June 25, 2016--What impact will revisions to Toxic Substances Control Act have? (Water Online)

Americans have come to question their drinking water these days. With incidents in Flint, MI, and constant lead contamination discoveries at schools and elsewhere, it make sense that people are skeptical of their drinking water. Congress this month passed a sweeping revision of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which covers thousands of chemicals in products as diverse as sippy cups, paint thinners, and permanent-press clothing. As reported by The Washington Post, the overhaul will give the U.S. EPA the power to require health and safety data for untested chemicals and to prevent substances from reaching the market — and, ultimately, drinking-water sources — if they have not been determined to be safe. Only once since the 1990s has the EPA come close to imposing a new standard for a contaminant when it reevaluated the threat of perchlorate, a chemical found in explosives, road flares, rocket fuel and, surprisingly, the drinking water of over 16 million people. “We live in a country where we’ve made a fundamental decision that chemicals are safe unless they’re proven to be bad,” Jeffrey Griffiths, a public health professor at Tufts University School of Medicine told The Washington Post. “We have this system which is biased toward the presumption of innocence.” The EPA keeps a list of about 100 unregulated contaminants that have made their way into water supplies from industrial sites and other sources. The agency updates a shorter lineup of chemicals that it believes should be tracked and studied every five years. To read the full article visit the Water Online.