Health advocates rally at Capitol for chemical safety bill; some chemicals linked to autism, cancer

Andy Igrejas, Brenda Afzal, and Dr. Sarah Janssen speak in favor of the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act. Photo by Mike Frandsen

Environmental advocates rallied in Washington, D.C. Thursday to support legislation to protect the public from toxic chemicals that have been linked to disorders and diseases such as autism and cancer.

Representatives from the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) held a press conference in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, urging Congress to overhaul a 1976 law that does not require all chemicals to be tested for safety.

The press conference took place alongside a giant inflatable rubber duck to symbolize that even simple items such as toys may contain unsafe chemicals.

Dr. Sarah Janssen, a scientist with NRDC, said most people have a story of someone who has been affected by unsafe chemicals: “People who have had cancer, problems conceiving a child, children with learning or developmental problems, asthma, and parents or grandparents struggling with diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s — all of these chronic illnesses have been associated to some extent with exposures to toxic chemicals.”

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