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Are chemical safety laws due for an update?

While much of the decision depends on the new presidential administration, a bill last year set the tone for the EPA to upgrade their research, potentially banning more dangerous chemicals from everyday use.

A 1976 law allows the EPA to ban chemicals, within certain guidelines. Since its passing 40 years ago, nine chemicals are no longer in use. Uses of those chemicals varied from insulation, coatings and industrial roles to household and everyday items such as flooring and aerosol cans. Different chemicals, of course, have different effects. Some damage users' lungs or organs with cancer-causing agents. TCDD is one of the most well known substances. It was the base of Agent Orange, which infamously polluted Vietnam waters and poisoned soldiers in the Vietnam War.

According to an EPA list, there are over 85,000 chemicals in use today. While just nine are banned, advocates say that's due more to process and research method instead of proven consumer safety records for those on the market. Under last year's legislation, the hope is that the EPA can conduct more thorough reviews to keep the danger away.

Looking forward

While advocates are excited that the decades old law has been updated, they still criticize the slow pace of research. Any new EPA restrictions will not take effect until 2022, which means another five years of exposure for consumers and our important natural resources like Georgia's precious waterways.

Contamination and beyond

There are many stories of infected water supplies and dangerous chemicals in our soil, causing silent harm to our bodies. Increased EPA research will help consumer safety but those who have already been exposed need protection today.

If you've been exposed to harmful chemicals, the first step to determining your case is to consult with an experienced environmental attorney who can investigate and prove both exposure and harm in a court of law. Specialized attorneys are familiar with scientific research, medical documentation and existing regulations. Combining these fields, they can seek the best resolution to a problem that you were unfairly stuck with.

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