American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

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NYT asks “Is it safe to play yet?” Regulatory bodies around the world say “yes”

An article in Thursday’s New York Times focused on a subject all parents and caregivers can relate to: selecting products to ensure a healthy, safe environment for our children. Regrettably, at 3,000 words in length, the article confounds the reader with a barrage of speculative information and parents’ personal anecdotes about the role chemistry plays in our daily lives, while completely ignoring the real, tangible benefits we see every day.

Parents that are more informed about these benefits are better suited to make good decisions about products they buy for their families. From the plastics that make car seats and bike helmets strong, to the pharmaceuticals that improve healthcare, mothers, fathers and caregivers alike rely on chemistry to keep their children healthy and safe.

And the 800,000 men and women employed by the business of chemistry rely on extensive research and proper government oversight to ensure that the products we make are safe for their intended uses.

Before a chemical is even used in a product, the manufacturer must provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with extensive scientific information about the chemical, including how it’s intended to be used. EPA then has the full authority – and uses it – to test and evaluate the new chemical before it hits the market.

The process works both ways: sometimes a product is approved for production, and sometimes the EPA denies the product application because the Agency is unable to determine whether the product would be safe for its intended use. To be clear, no new chemical can come to market until the EPA says it can.

The chemical industry takes very seriously its commitment to health, safety and transparency, and there are over a dozen federal laws that regulate the production and use of chemicals in specific applications. And since no two individuals are alike, we have long supported the National Children’s Study — a study being conducted by NIH, CDC and EPA — to comprehensively examine the role that physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic factors play in how we interact with everyday products.

We invite you to learn more about the safety of our products.

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