Commentary: Today, in a ceremony at the White House, President Obama signed into law U.S. Senator Tom Udall's landmark bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation's broken chemical safety program. Udall's Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act reforms the broken Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) to keep children and communities in New Mexico and across the nation safe from dangerous chemicals. Udall released the following statement:
"I want to thank President Obama for his support for this landmark new law. When the ink dries on his signature, we will put 40 years of broken law behind us. It is a historic step forward that will improve the health and safety of every American family.
"Over the years of working on this bill, I met many people who illustrated why reform was so important. Two of them are Dominique Browning and Lisa Huguenin. Dominique, who works with Moms Clean Air Force, is a kidney cancer survivor. When she asked her doctor what caused her cancer, he said, 'It's one of those environmental ones. Who knows? We're full of chemicals.' Lisa is a Ph.D. scientist who has done work on chemical exposure at Princeton and Rutgers universities. Lisa was motivated to fight for reform not just because of her work, but because her family has experienced health problems that could be linked to environmental chemicals, and she wants answers about what's in our environment. Her son was born with autism and auto-immune deficiencies, and her husband has undergone tests for a rare and newly discovered disease. She has special training in human exposure to chemicals, and she pointed out that if she can't be confident that she's keeping her family safe, then how can the average mom or dad.
"There are countless other stories like Lisa and Dominique's in communities all across New Mexico and throughout our country. It took 40 years and a lot of hard work, and today I'm elated that with this new law, we're finally creating a regulatory system that will protect them, their families and the health of all Americans. This isn't the last step -- we must ensure the new program is a success. And as the lead Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the EPA's budget, I'm putting the EPA and the industry on notice: I will be watching."