Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

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become informed and make a difference

In 1976...

A lot has changed since 1976, including our understanding of how chemicals contribute to chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. Unfortunately, the legislation protecting us from chemical exposures has not kept pace with ongoing advances in the science linking environmental exposures to biological effects. In fact, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), enacted in 1976, the Environmental Protection Agency has tested only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals in commerce and has regulated only five.

Reform efforts are underway in the US Senate and House of Representatives that will update and modernize chemical regulations, making products and manufacturing safer for consumers, children, and workers. By becoming informed and vocal, You Can! make a difference. Let your legislators know that you support TSCA reform to ensure that the government has strong policies in place to make the USA safer and healthier.

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Who is protecting us?

TSCA was passed in 1976 to empower the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the public by regulating chemicals that may be harmful to health.

Unfortunately, this law has been largely ineffective. Studies on health effects are often kept secret and TSCA gives the EPA little authority to gather necessary information and protect public health. Of the 62,000 chemicals on the market in 1976, very few have been tested and only 5 have been regulated. The list of chemicals has continued to grow since then to more than 80,000 chemicals, and still there is no requirement that industry show that the chemicals in the marketplace are safe.

contact your senators and representative and let them know your concerns about environmental issues. To find your elected officials visit or

Contact the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute for updated information and evidence-based resources.

Safe Chemicals Act of 2010/Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010

crowd photoIn April 2010, two bills were introduced in Congress that would overhaul the regulation of TSCA that would:

For more information and to track the legislation visit:

Center for Disease Control. (2009). Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Retrieved from
The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, 2009 (the Report) provides an ongoing assessment of the exposure of the U.S. population to environmental chemicals by the use of biomonitoring. The Report is cumulative (containing all the results from previous Reports) and provides new data for years 2003- 2004. Data for 75 new environmental chemicals are included for the survey period 2003-2004. The Report website report is also the best source for the most recent update of available data.

Harte J, Holdren C, Schneider R, Chirley C. (1991). Toxics A to Z: A guide to everyday pollution hazards. Berkeley: University of California Press.

President’s Cancer Panel. (2010). Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now. Retrieved from
This report summarizes the Panel’s findings and conclusions based on the testimony received and additional information gathering. The Panel’s recommendations delineate concrete actions that governments; industry; the research, health care, and advocacy communities; and individuals can take to reduce cancer risk related to environmental contaminants, excess radiation, and other harmful exposures.

Wigle DT, Arbuckle TE, Turner MC, Bérubé A, Yang Q, Liu S et al. (2008 May). Epidemiologic evidence of relationships between reproductive and child health outcomes and environmental chemical contaminants. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 11(5-6):373-517.
This review summarizes the level of epidemiologic evidence for relationships between prenatal and/or early life exposure to environmental chemical contaminants and fetal, child, and adult health. Discussion focuses on fetal loss, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, birth defects, respiratory and other childhood diseases, neuropsychological deficits, premature or delayed sexual maturation, and certain adult cancers linked to fetal or childhood exposures. Environmental exposures considered here include chemical toxicants in air, water, soil/house dust and foods (including human breast milk), and consumer products. Reports reviewed here included original epidemiologic studies (with at least basic descriptions of methods and results), literature reviews, expert group reports, meta-analyses, and pooled analyses. Levels of evidence for causal relationships were categorized as sufficient, limited, or inadequate according to predefined criteria. There was sufficient epidemiological evidence for causal relationships between several adverse pregnancy or child health outcomes and prenatal or childhood exposure to environmental chemical contaminants.