E.P.A. Will Draft New Law
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), is proposing a major change in the way the federal government regulates tens of thousands of chemicals in consumer products, one that would place more of a responsibility on industry to prove that the compounds are safe. Jackson is proposing an overhaul of a 1976 toxics law that she called "inordinately cumbersome and time-consuming" and said that her agency will immediately begin analyzing and regulating six widely-used chemicals found in countless consumer products. Among the six are bisphenol A, used in plastic bottles; phthalates, found in vinyl and cosmetics; and perfluorinated compounds used in making non-stick coatings and food packaging. Many scientists say these chemicals can mimic hormones and hurt development of fetuses and children, as well as possibly causing reproductive problems and cancer. "As more and more chemicals are found in our bodies and the environment, the public is understandably anxious and confused," said Jackson. "Many are turning to government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science."
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