406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room

Frank R. Lautenberg


Madame Chairman,

This Committee once again finds itself forced to bring attention to the dangerous shortcomings of the Bush Administration’s EPA.

Simply put: this Administration has repeatedly failed to protect the health of our children.

And yet, the EPA does not seem all that concerned.

They could have set higher air quality standards so that our children are protected from asthma and other respiratory problems, but they failed to act.

They could have made sure toxics and other industrial chemicals used in thousands of everyday products—from plastics to children's toys—were finally regulated, but they failed to act.

In fact, both of these changes were recommended by the EPA’s own expert committee—the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee.

As the GAO will testify today, the EPA has chronically ignored the advice of these experts and repeatedly set standards too low to protect our children's health.

And out of the 80,000 chemicals in products that are found in our homes and around our children, the EPA has only tested about 200.

That statistic is the reason I was joined by Chairman Boxer, and Senators Clinton, Menendez, Kerry, Schumer and Whitehouse to introduce the Kids Safe Chemical Act.

Instead of waiting for a chemical to make someone sick—or hoping for the EPA to prevent that from happening—we need to prove chemicals are safe before they get into the hands of consumers.

Our bill would direct the EPA to make sure that every chemical in every product is safe before it ever ends up in a store—or in our homes—and it would put special emphasis on chemicals that are used by children.

We already regulate pesticides and pharmaceuticals this way. It is simply common sense that we do the same for chemicals that are used in consumer products.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.