Initiative to reduce toxic chemicals poised for vote by full Massachusetts Senate

Representative Jay Kaufman’s (D-Lexington) quest to reduce toxic chemicals found in everyday products took a major leap forward, when the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Environment & Natural Resources voted favorably on the legislation. The bill, “An Act for Healthy Families & Businesses” now moves to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which puts it in a prime position to be discharged to the full Senate for consideration. Teaming up with colleague Senator Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington), Rep. Kaufman has pursued this ground-breaking legislation for over six years now.

Through the Toxic Use Reduction Act (TURA), Massachusetts has greatly reduced the amount of toxic chemicals through manufacturing, limiting human exposure and improving our quality of life. Now, we are at greater risk of toxic exposure from consumer products – items we use in our everyday lives – that are not addressed under the TURA program. Children, pregnant women, and workers are especially at risk of exposure to these chemicals, which are linked to many serious chronic diseases and illnesses.

“I’m thrilled the Committee swiftly approved this bill, they obviously recognize the pressing need to make our home life and workplace environment safer for our next generation”, Kaufman said. Over half the Senate and almost 50 representatives have co-sponsored this vital environmental legislation.

This initiative is the crucial next step in the Commonwealth’s history of protecting the environment and public health by reducing and removing toxic substances. Kaufman and Donnelly have strengthened the bill and made it more effective at reducing chemical use, while bringing us in line with other states to create uniformity for businesses.

Most importantly, this bill expands the reporting and transparency requirements for the highest priority chemicals, giving more information to the state, consumers, and businesses. Informed consumers can make smarter purchasing decisions to choose safer products, and effect change through the free market. Massachusetts businesses can make safer products and improve their competitive advantage. The Commonwealth can then cooperate with other states through an interstate chemical clearinghouse, providing a central depository of product chemical information.