H.C.R. NO.














encouraging the United states congress to enact federal legislation to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to strengthen chemicals management through policy reforms.




     WHEREAS, children, as well as the developing fetus, are uniquely vulnerable to the health threats of toxic chemicals, and early-life chemical exposures have been linked to chronic disease later in life; and


     WHEREAS, a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence links exposure to toxic chemicals to many diseases and health conditions that are rising in incidence, including childhood cancers, prostate cancer, breast cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, infertility, and obesity; and


     WHEREAS, the President's Cancer Panel report released in May 2010 stated that the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated and the panel advised the President "to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our nation's productivity, and devastate American lives"; and


     WHEREAS, workers in a range of industries are exposed to toxic chemicals that pose threats to their health, and increase worker absenteeism, worker compensation claims, and health care costs that burden the economy; and


     WHEREAS, a recent national poll found that seventy-eight per cent of likely American voters were seriously concerned about the threat to children's health from exposure to toxic chemicals in day-to-day life; and


     WHEREAS, states bear an undue burden from the effects of toxic chemicals, including health care costs and environmental damages, placing businesses that lack information on chemicals in their supply chain at a disadvantage and increasing demands for state regulation; and


     WHEREAS, the primary governing federal statute, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, was intended to authorize the United States Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health and the environment from toxic chemicals; and


     WHEREAS, when the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 was passed, about 62,000 chemicals then in commerce were exempted and allowed to continue being sold or used without any required testing for health and safety hazards or any restrictions on usage; and


     WHEREAS, in the thirty-five years since, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has required chemical companies to test only about two hundred of those chemicals for health hazards and has issued partial restrictions on only five chemicals; and


     WHEREAS, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 has been widely recognized as being ineffective and obsolete due to legal and procedural hurdles that prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from taking quick and effective regulatory action to protect the public against well-known chemical threats; and


WHEREAS, in January 2009, the United States General Accounting Office added the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory program for assessing and controlling toxic chemicals to its list of high risk government programs that are not working as intended, finding that:


(1)  The Environmental Protection Agency has been unable to complete assessments even of chemicals of highest concern;


(2)  The Environmental Protection Agency requires additional authority to obtain health and safety information from the chemical industry and to direct chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of their products; and


(3)  The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 does not provide sufficient chemical safety data for public use by consumers, businesses, and workers; the Act also fails to create incentives to develop safer alternatives; and


     WHEREAS, the National Conference of State Legislatures unanimously adopted a resolution in July 2009 that articulated principles for reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 and called on Congress to act to update the law; and


     WHEREAS, in August 2010, the Environmental Council of States, the national association of state environmental agency directors, unanimously adopted a resolution entitled "Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act," which endorsed specific policy reforms; and


     WHEREAS, ten states have acted together to launch the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse to coordinate state chemical information management programs, and a coalition of thirteen states issued guiding principles for reform; and


     WHEREAS, seventy-one state laws on chemical safety have been enacted and signed into law in eighteen states with broad bipartisan support over the last eight years; and


     WHEREAS, state policy leadership on chemical management, although outstanding, cannot substitute for congressional leadership to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, a reform that many individuals and entities agree is urgently needed; and


     WHEREAS, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 is the only major federal environmental statute that has never been updated or reauthorized; and


     WHEREAS, legislation to substantially reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976  was introduced during the 109th Congress in 2005, the 110th Congress in 2008, and again in the 111th Congress in 2010; now, therefore


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2011, the Senate concurring, that members of the 112th United States Congress are encouraged to enact federal legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to strengthen chemical management through policy reforms that:


(1)  Require chemical manufacturers to prove that all existing and new chemicals are not harmful to human health and provide essential health and safety information on chemicals to inform the market, consumers, and the public;


(2)  Require immediate action to reduce or eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, including persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals and other priority toxics to which there is already widespread exposure;


(3)  Preserve the authority of state and tribal governments to operate chemical management programs that are more protective than those of the federal government;


(4)  Establish health safety standards for chemicals that rely on the best available science to protect the most vulnerable, such as children and the developing fetus;


(5)  Reward innovation by fast-tracking approval of new, demonstrably safer chemicals, and invest in green chemistry research and workforce development to boost American business and create jobs related to making safer chemical alternatives; and


(6)  Promote environmental justice by developing action plans to reduce disproportionate exposure to toxic chemicals in hot spot communities; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation.









Report Title: 

Reforming Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976