Thursday, November 12, 2009

Poll Finds Americans Very Concerned About Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

/PRNewswire/ -- A poll conducted in August by Lake Research Partners found Americans very concerned with how chemicals are regulated for consumer use in the U.S. The findings come as overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will be introduced soon in both Houses of Congress.

Voters are concerned that, under TSCA, chemicals in existence prior to 1976 were grandfathered in to be used and produced in the U.S. without testing or regulation. (87 percent were somewhat or very concerned). Eighty percent of voters were concerned that the EPA was unsuccessful in banning asbestos under current law. Eighty-four percent were concerned that the EPA has mandated testing of barely 200 out of the over 80,000 on the market since 1976.

"Voters across almost all demographic and political groups said that regulations on chemicals were not strong enough," said pollster Celinda Lake. "People definitely are not confident about how chemicals are currently regulated, but they're ready to give the EPA authority to protect consumers."

Hundreds of recent scientific studies associate chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which are used in baby bottles, pacifiers, canned foods and toys, with a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma, increased risk of certain types of cancer and infertility.

"The public is aware of a growing body of science linking common chemicals to chronic diseases and they're waking up to the fact that the existing law isn't working," says Andy Igrejas, director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. "Americans are doing their best to shop smart, but we can't protect our families without help, and without strong reforms to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals."

Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans say they would support legislation that would take toxic chemicals off the market if they have been detected in babies at birth or in infants, and exposure to other known toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that have been extensively studied, will be reduced to the maximum extent possible.

The poll was commissioned by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The poll was conducted among 1,000 registered voters nationwide Aug. 25 to 31, 2009. More detailed poll results available at www.saferchemicals.org.

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