BizNGO Applauds Senator Merkley’s Bill to Reduce PBTs Press Release

BizNGO Applauds Senator Merkley’s Bill to Reduce PBTs Press Release image

Businesses praise bill to avoid chemicals of high concern to human health and the environment

Business leaders today urged the U.S. Senate to pass the Protecting America’s Families from Toxic Chemicals Act of 2014. The bill just introduced by Senator Merkley (D-OR) would reduce chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs).

PBTs are uniquely hazardous. An example is mercury: it travels the globe and increases in concentration up the food chain, it does not break down in the environment, and it is a potent neurotoxicant.

“Leading businesses recognize the hazards of PBTs and are supporting initiatives to reduce their use,” said Mark Rossi, PhD, coordinator of the BizNGO network, a collaboration of businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to shift the market to safer chemicals. “Retailers, hospitals, architecture and design firms and manufacturers recognize the value of avoiding the use of PBTs before they are added to products.”

Here’s what businesses are saying about Senator Merkley’s PBT bill:

Roger McFadden, Senior Scientist, Vice President, Staples, Inc.:  “Our company strives to meet the expectations of our customers by eliminating and/or reducing the use of hazardous substances. Establishing PBTs as a priority class of chemicals for reduction helps us to communicate to our suppliers which chemicals of high concern to human health and the environment they should prioritize for action. Reducing the use of PBTs makes sense for our economy, health, and environment. Using safer alternatives to PBTs from the start reduces the costs of regulation, costs of hazardous waste storage and disposal, and costs of providing worker protections. Senator Merkley’s PBT bill is a positive step in this direction.”

Rachelle Reyes Wenger, MPA, Director, Public Policy & Community Advocacy, Dignity Health: “The Protecting America’s Families from Toxic Chemicals Act addresses our first and foremost need to protect the most vulnerable populations from exposure to PBTs. These chemicals are very slow to biodegrade, build up in the food chain, and exert adverse health and environmental effects.”

Robin Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Perkins+Will: “The Protecting America’s Families from Toxic Chemicals Act represents a long awaited sensible approach to prioritizing PBTs for reduction. Reducing the use of PBTs makes sense for our economy, health, the environment and our children's futures. We strongly support government leadership in removing PBTs from products where alternatives are available, and signaling the marketplace to move more quickly toward substitution and phase-out.”

Howard Williams, SR VP Sustainability & Acquisitions, Construction Specialties, Inc.: “Senator Merkley’s bill takes a sensible approach to prioritizing PBTs for reduction. Reducing the use of PBTs makes sense for our health, environment and economy. We applaud government leadership in beginning to remove PBTs from products where effective alternatives are available."

 

Contact:

Mark Rossi, 781.799.9504  mark@cleanproduction.org
 

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Note on our Policy Positions
Participants in BizNGO are all working towards the use of safer chemicals in commerce. Reflecting the diversity of participants in the Working Group, we have a diversity of perspectives on government, NGO and industry initiatives. While BizNGO strives for consensus on all of its policy positions and all participants agree on the government policy issues we address, we may not achieve consensus on the specifics of every BizNGO policy statement.