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Jessica Alba and Local Mom Urge Senator Scott Brown to Support “Safe Chemicals Act”

Last week Dedham, MA mother and cancer activist, Erin Boles, joined celebrity spokeswoman Jessica Alba to urge  Scott Brown to support the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011″, introduced as a bill in April by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D- NJ).

The Safe Chemicals Act, a bill now in the Senate, would overhaul the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is widely perceived to have failed to protect public health and the environment. Specifically the Act would:

- Require EPA to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain;

- Require basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for entering or remaining on the market;

- Reduce the burden of toxic chemical exposures on people of color and low-income and indigenous communities;

- Upgrade scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences; and

- Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.

“Under current law, EPA is powerless to act against even the most notorious chemicals,” said Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and a leading expert on TSCA. “The Safe Chemicals Act would provide EPA with the authority it needs to protect public health; the marketplace with the information companies need to innovate safe products; and consumers with the comfort in knowing that their families are being protected,” he concluded.

Erin Boles, executive director of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coaltion and a cancer survivor herself,  said the legislation is needed because research shows that humans have an increased amount of toxins in their body compared with their grandparents’ generation. She said known carcinogenic chemicals can be found in products that people come in contact with daily — like cleaners, lawn care products, cosmetics, and personal care products.

“We believe that by eliminating chemicals that have links with breast cancer from everyday products and from the environment, that will be the step that we need to take to start lowering the breast cancer rate,” Boles said in an interview. “We believe that prevention in the cure.”

She said the breast cancer rate in Massachusetts is almost 10 percent higher than the national rate. One in seven women in Massachusetts are expected to have breast cancer.

“It troubles me that every single day I walk around being exposed to carcinogens and not informed about them, and I certainly haven’t provided my consent,” said Boles.

Although Brown said he’d review the material and told Ms. Boles that he’d supported similar state legislation during his time in the MA Senate, his environmental record as a U.S. Senator is not so great. In April, he voted to support the McConnell amendment, which, had it passed, would have eliminated the  EPA’s authority to regulate global warming pollution and weaken fuel economy standards.

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