Letter: Senators should back chemical safety bill

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For almost 35 years, I have been an industrial hygienist working to prevent exposures in the workplace to toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other serious health issues. 

I am writing to thank U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins for publicly acknowledging that our chemical safety laws are broken.  Their public statements come at a crucial time when the nation is watching the debate on toxic chemical policy reform.

Late last year, Collins said that “Americans have the right to know that the products they use and purchase are safe and free of hazardous toxins.”

Snowe stated that “we must reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to better reflect the scientific progress that has been achieved in the past 35 years, and assess high-risk chemicals in commerce.”

Now I am asking them to continue their history of thoughtful, bipartisan leadership to help reach a solution to this problem by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

With the Safe Chemicals Act, we have a unique opportunity right now to provide workers with the information they need to stay safe and reduce the number of workplace exposures to toxic chemicals. 

Maine’s workers depend on Congress to do the right thing by passing real chemical safety reforms.

John Newton
Portland

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