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Voluntary Chemical Safety Testing: Oppose mandatory testing at all costs

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When the Nixon Administration proposed TSCA in 1972, the chemical industry reacted with predictably vehement and well-coordinated opposition. A 1973 report from CMA's Director of Government Relations describes the intensity of lobbying over early versions of a toxics control act circulating through Congress.

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The core objective of this campaign was to subvert any proposal that required testing of chemicals in commerce, and indeed CMA's hallmark position of "no mandatory testing," codified in 1976, is a consistent theme of the documents that deal with TSCA.

It is not surprising that the chemical industry would fight TSCA or attempts since 1976 to make it tougher. What is surprising is the degree to which the industry's misleading campaigns against meaningful regulation and independent health studies of chemicals have succeeded. In 1998, when an agreement on voluntary testing was announced, industry leaders and the EPA called it a major concession, and hailed it as a victory for the public. In reality, it was a triumph for the industry and its decades-long strategy of obstruction and obfuscation.

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last updated: march.27.2009

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