Infographic: Americans Exposed To Thousands of Untested Chemicals

Image: Scientific American

You probably already know there are many chemicals in the everyday products that we use -- but do you know how many of them have actually been tested for consumer safety? As this telling infographic over at Scientific American shows, this number is startlingly miniscule thanks to a old legislative loophole. They explain:

Experts guesstimate that about 50,000 chemicals are used in U.S. consumer products and industrial processes. Why the uncertainty? The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act does not require chemicals to be registered or proven safe before use. Because the Environmental Protection Agency must show, after the fact, that a substance is dangerous, it has managed to require testing of only about 300 substances that have been in circulation for decades. It has restricted applications of five.

But this could all change with chemical safety reform: both the recently introduced House Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 and the Senate Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 would require that manufacturers bear the legal burden of proving the safety of their chemicals. But as we can see, there's still a long way to go.

Full infographic at Scientific American (make sure to zoom in) and the International Business Times
More on Chemical Safety
Should Manufacturers Disclose Secret Chemical Ingredients?
The EPA, Keeping Chemicals Secret Since 1976
Avoid These 'Dirty Dozen' Toxic Chemicals
Dispose of Toxic Household Chemicals, Safely

Tags: Chemicals | EPA | Toxins | United States

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