Miracle on the Potomac: The New Bipartisan Law Regulating Toxics

With Donald Trump pressing nonrenewable fuel sources, misinterpreting the Paris climate accord, however still promising to tear it up if or as he says, when he becomes president, it is simple to be cynical about our environmental future. Presidential preference polling differs throughout election year, Donald s policy views are far from repaired, and last week Congress passed the first piece of major brand-new environmental legislation in about a quarter century. A brand-new law managing harmful substances won big bipartisan congressional bulks. Its passage reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s when bipartisan extremely majorities enacted most of our federal environmental policy structure.

The law also permits EPA to need manufacturers to carry out tests of the chemicals without being needed to first show that the chemical triggers harm. Under the brand-new law, EPA has to focus on the twenty riskiest chemicals in use and need to finish their research of any chemical under evaluation in less than seven years. In return, the chemical market attained their objective of federal preemption of brand-new state poisonous chemical laws.

This law is an advance, but it still does not follow the preventive concept where new chemicals are evaluated before they are put in use. It is significant because the chemical market and the environmental neighborhood and lawmakers from both parties were able to work together and compromise. There was a time when such compromise was far from newsworthy, however in today s hyper-partisan national federal government, it appears like a small wonder. It is a graphic presentation of America s shared belief in the significance of a safe, healthy environment. Polling has long demonstrated the broad consensus behind efforts to complimentary our environment of toxics.

The new law is likewise a quiet recognition of the toxicity of the high tech environment we live in. Modern computers, mobile phones, and home entertainment systems are all based on plastics and electronic elements that are either toxic or non-biodegradable. Today s materials are less costly, more durable, and more toxic.

3Forty years later on, the chemicals have actually ended up being more complex and their use more widespread. Far more hazardous is the release of the poisons that the new chemical control law is created to manage.

While the new law is a significant relocation in the best instructions, its scale is overshadowed by the chemical industry s capability to create and manufacture brand-new mixes of chemicals for brand-new industrial uses. This expense makes it possible to eliminate the most dangerous of these compounds from the American economy. However, since we are now in a global economy, managing the chemicals in America does not remove our direct exposure to their impact.

I have actually frequently observed that the difficulty of resolving climate modification has actually so controlled conversations of ecological policy, that the problem of toxics and environment wellness have actually been delegated to the sidelines of political discourse. I do not see these as competing concerns and think they must all be integrated into a single conversation of the difficulty of international environmental and financial sustainability.

Making use of innovation in our financial life need to be tempered and handled to reduce its impact on natural environmental systems. The effect of greenhouse gases on climate is one of many human-made substances altering our biosphere. A number of the other 80,000 human-made chemical products we have prepared also damage the environment. We need to get all of them under control.


My view is that a gratitude of toxics and local air and water pollution can lead to a much deeper understanding of the existential danger of climate change. Since the impact of some toxics is relatively immediate and because some of these contaminants are simple to see and smell, they are tough to deny and have the ability to teach people about the impact of innovation on human health. It is then a small leap to understanding the unseen effect of greenhouse gases on international climate.

The chemical companies came to the bargaining table on toxics policy because they saw the growing grassroots support for chemical restrictions at the state and regional level. The focus on health, exercise and diet plan is a mass, broad phenomenon and these business understand that they need to be prepared to manage and even police the most dangerous of the chemicals they have created.

Speaking of the danger of a nuclear polluted planet on June 10th, 1963, President John F. Kennedy connected the natural environment to our requirements as living creatures when he stated that:

4… In the last analysis, the majority of fundamental common link is that we all populate this world. We all breathe the exact same air. We all value our children s future. And we are all mortal …

We are all air breathing, mortal beings who have an ethical responsibility to protect the world for our children. That is the story of the toxics compromise in Congress, and I believe that if somehow the Donald becomes the deal-maker-in- chief, he too will pertain to think about the health of his children and grandchildren when he makes environmental decisions. If for some reason he doesn’t, the courts, the congress, and America’s states and cities will make those choices for him.