Washington, D.C-- Today, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Edward Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, are introducing the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, which provides critical safeguards to protect children and communities from the dangers of toxic chemicals.
Senators Boxer and Markey introduced the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act after consulting with a wide range of leading experts and stakeholders, including public health and environmental organizations, business groups, states, and groups that advocate on behalf of those who have suffered injuries from toxic chemicals. The legislation protects children and vulnerable populations from harmful toxins, provides stronger safety standards and quicker safety reviews of chemicals, and ensures exposure from chemical spills and leaks are addressed. The bill also requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act quickly to consider a ban on asbestos, and it maintains states' rights to protect people from dangerous toxic chemicals. A summary of the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act is here.
The bill is named after Alan Reinstein, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 66 from mesothelioma, a disease associated with exposure to asbestos. Alan's wife, Linda, co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) in 2004. The legislation is also named after Trevor Schaefer, a brain cancer survivor who was diagnosed with the disease twelve years ago at the age of 13. As a co-founder of the Trevor's Trek Foundation, he has worked to make communities safer from cancer and other childhood diseases related to the environment and chemical exposures.
Senator Boxer said: "The Boxer-Markey bill protects the health and safety of our families from dangerous toxic chemicals in our communities. This bill addresses asbestos, children's cancer, and other threats that toxic chemicals pose to our families, including cardiovascular disease, developmental disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, endocrine disruption, and many others. Our citizens deserve nothing less than a bill that protects them - not chemical companies."
Senator Markey said: "Our outdated and ineffective federal chemical law needs an update that protects today's children and every generation to follow. This legislation will preserve vital protections like a state's ability to clamp down on dangerous chemicals, while ensuring that known chemical threats to public health are acted on quickly. This bill will help ensure that communities are protected from chemical spills and clusters of disease that are related to toxic exposures. I thank Senator Boxer for her hard work drafting this bill and look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to make significant and positive progress updating our chemical laws."
Linda Reinstein, President/CEO of ADAO, said: "ADAO applauds Senator Boxer and Senator Markey for their leadership in helping to take further steps to eliminate exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen that has caused the most occupational deaths in history. This bill, named after my late husband Alan, represents not only his courageous battle with mesothelioma, which he lost nine years ago, but it also represents the hundreds of thousands of other asbestos victims - past, present, and future - along with Americans who've been affected by other toxic chemicals. Asbestos is still legal and lethal in the United States, and the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act will enable the EPA to, once and for all, ban asbestos. Along with the coalition of over 500 organizations that have worked together to support this bill, we are grateful for its introduction."
Trevor Schaefer said: "At the age of 13 I was diagnosed with brain cancer. I am a twelve-year survivor and a co-founder of Trevor's Trek Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting legislation that protects our children and communities from carcinogenic chemicals and other environmental cancer triggers. I commend Senators Boxer and Markey for a bill that moves us toward our goal - meaningful reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Environmental toxins and untested chemicals are poisoning and killing our children -- that is child abuse. We have federal laws that identify and protect our communities from many dangers, and with the passage of the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, we will finally have a way to oversee and protect our children from dangerous chemicals."