President Obama signed bill that places new regulations on chemicals

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president obama signs chemicals overhaul law

This Wednesday, President Obama signed a bill into law that will affect a lot of the products we’re using daily, as it places stronger regulations on chemicals present in them. To be more specific, we’re talking about detergents, paint thinners, cleansers, clothing and even automobiles.

A more than welcome refresh of a 40-year-old law

Known as the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the surprisingly passed by Congress this month, after a bipartisan vote, according to The Washington Post. This new law will update the Toxic Substances Control Act, which wasn’t reauthorized since the mid-70s.

“Folks should have the confidence to know the laundry detergent we buy isn’t going to make us sick, the mattress our babies sleep on isn’t going to harm them,” President Obama said at a signing ceremony for the legislation.

Environmental groups have asked lawmakers for years to change “one of the worst environmental laws on the books”, so today’s signing is definitely a success for them.

“The updated law gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authorities we need to protect American families from the health effects of dangerous chemicals,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement. “And at EPA, we’re excited to get to work putting it into action,” she added.

The EPA will start applying the law as quick as possible

After President Obama‘s signing, the agency will start reviewing 10 of the most potentially toxic chemicals used throughout the country, specifically asbestos, formaldehyde and flame retardants, found in the framework of homes, cars, furniture, clothing and even newspaper ink.

“Most Americans believe that when they buy a product at the hardware store or the grocery store, that product has been tested and determined to be safe,” said Democratic Senator Tom Udall. “But that isn’t the case. Americans are exposed to hundreds of chemicals from household items.”