By Richard Denison, cross-posted from Environmental Defense Fund

As the long-awaited introduction of TSCA reform legislation at last appears to be about to happen (how’s that for being definitively vague?), the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) coalition believes it is time to more sharply define some of the policy areas where we currently differ from the chemical industry, insofar as we have been able to discern their positions through the principles, testimony and other public statements they have provided.  After all, you have first to identify differences before you can seek to narrow them.

SCHF took the opportunity to define those differences yesterday, choosing as our venues both the inside and the outside of the chemical industry’s big annual shindig, its GlobalChem conference held in Baltimore. 

Outside, accompanied by a 20-foot inflatable rubber ducky battered by rain and wind but clearly visible to conference attendees, SCHF members and supporters held a rally and news conference.  Draped across the duck was the message:  “Chemical industry — You can’t duck real reform!”

Inside, warm and dry, I was the only environmental NGO representative invited to speak at the conference.  I was part of the kickoff plenary panel on “TSCA Modernization” that also featured the presidents of the two major chemical industry trade associations – ACC and SOCMA – as well as the former head of the toxics office at EPA, and a current EPA official.

While the adjacent venues stood in stark contrast to each other, our message was the same:  We need strong reform that fully protects public health and the environment.

Here are SCHF’s news release (English/Spanish) and factsheet highlighting three key differences between our and the industry’s positions.

Here’s Chemical Week’s take on all this.

And below is a graphic boiling down the differences:

 

Finally, one little annoyance to report:  SCHF had printed up postcards carrying the above graphic on one side, and a photo of an infant chewing on a rubber ducky on the other side, bearing the tag line: “Chemical industry — You can’t duck real reform!”   At several points throughout the morning, I placed a stack of the postcards on a table near the registration desk bearing literature from various companies and organizations.  Each time, shortly after putting them out, I saw they were all gone. 

Clearly, some conference official decided to keep removing the postcards, which they apparently considered subversive literature.  You’d think something as minor as this would have been treated like water running off a duck’s back.  Oh well.

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