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In The News AMA Passes Resolution in Support of Chemical Policy Reform
Reform of industrial chemicals to protect and improve human health


Re: Resolution 404 - modern chemicals policies
Resolution 413 - modern chemicals policy
Resolution 418 - a modern chemicals policy
Resolution 427 - encouraging safer chemicals policies and regulatory


RECOMMENDATION:
Mr. Speaker, your Reference Committee recommends that Substitute Resolution 404 be adopted in lieu of Resolutions 404, 413, 418, and 427 to read as follows:

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association call upon the United States government to implement a national modern, comprehensive chemicals policy that is in line with current scientific knowledge on human and environmental health, and that requires a full evaluation of the health impacts of both newly developed and industrial chemicals now in use. (Directive to Take Action); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support the restructuring of the Toxic Substances Control Act to serve as a vehicle to help federal and state agencies to assess efficiently the human and environmental health hazards of industrial chemicals and reduce the use of those of greatest concern. (Directive to Take Action); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our AMA support the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals (SAICM) process leading to the sound management of chemicals throughout their life-cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment. (Directive to Take Action); and be it further

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association encourage the training of medical students, physicians, and other health professionals about the human health effects of toxic chemical exposures. (New HOD Policy)

Resolution 404 asks our American Medical Association to: (1) encourage the training of medical students about the health effects of toxic exposures on patients; (2) call upon Congress to craft and implement a modern, comprehensive chemicals policy, to (a) close the Data Gap by improving the efficiency of the chemicals market by implementing measures that improve the flow of information regarding toxicity from chemical producers to businesses, consumers, workers, and government agencies; (b) close the Safety Gap by reducing the commercial circulation of the most hazardous chemicals by identifying those of greatest concern and implementing measures that motivate businesses to reduce their usage and improve the safety of their usage of these substances through toxics use reduction and other relevant strategies; and (c) close the Technology Gap by introducing a range of other incentives to encourage businesses to invest in green chemistry innovation, and by supporting "green" chemistry research and education; and (3) carry this resolution to the World Medical Association urging involvement in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) process leading to the sound management of chemicals throughout their life-cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment.

Resolution 413 asks our American Medical Association to call upon the United States government to implement a national modern, comprehensive chemicals policy in line with current scientific knowledge on human health, which requires a full evaluation of the health impacts of both newly developed and existing industrial chemicals now in use.

Resolution 418 asks our American Medical Association to gather all stakeholders to craft and develop a modern, comprehensive national chemicals policy.

Resolution 427 asks our American Medical Association to support restructuring of the Toxic Substances Control Act to: (1) require chemical producers to provide comprehensive chemical hazard information in forms that are appropriate for use by the public, workers, industry, and government; (2) serve as a vehicle to help federal and state agencies to efficiently assess the human and environmental hazards of chemicals in commercial use and reduce the use of those of greatest concern; and (3) introduce complementary federal mechanisms to motivate investment, education, and research in safer ('green') chemical technology.

Testimony was unanimous in support of the intent of these four resolutions. While all are somewhat different, the resolves in the resolutions generally call for the support of a restructuring of U.S. chemicals policies. Testimony noted that several independent analyses of the current U.S. chemical regulatory program (the Toxic Substance Control Act, commonly known as TSCA) have been completed and concluded there are several deficiencies in the program. TSCA is federal legislation that is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and is meant to characterize and evaluate the risks posed by certain chemicals to both humans and the environment. TSCA does not provide oversight of pesticides, food additives or cosmetics, which are under the purview of other regulatory acts. It is not appropriate (nor in the realm of our expertise) for our AMA to gather stakeholders to craft a new national chemical policy as called for in Resolution 418. It is also more likely that efforts will be made to improve TSCA rather than create new legislation or in a new "comprehensive chemical policy" as called for in Resolutions 404 and 413. The fourth resolve was expanded to encourage physicians and other health professionals on the health implications of toxic chemical exposures. Your Reference Committee agrees with all expressed sentiment and deems that the substitute resolution adequately captures the scope and intent of the various sponsors.

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