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ANA fights to restore the Toxic Right to Know Act.

On February 14, Nancy Hughes, MS, RN, director of The Department of Occupational Health and Safety and ANA, took part in a press conference held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NY), and Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Hilda Solis (D-CA) announced the reintroduction of the Toxic Right-to-Know Protection Act (S. 595/H.R. 1055) The House bill has 47 additional cosponsors. In the Senate, the bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

This important, ANA-supported legislation would undo U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations which weakened toxic reporting requirements that had been in place nearly two decades. In December 2006, the EPA announced final rules that loosen reporting requirements for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). With these rules, the Bush administration has undermined the TRI program Congress established in 1986 as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

The new EPA regulations weaken this critical program by: eliminating detailed reports from more than 5,000 facilities that release up to 2,000 pounds of chemicals every year; and eliminating detailed reports from nearly 2,000 facilities that manage up to 500 pounds of chemicals known to pose some of the worst threats to human health, including lead and mercury.

The Toxic Right-to-Know-Protection Act codifies the stronger reporting requirements that were in place before the Bush administration weakened them late last year. By codifying these requirements, neither the current administration nor future administrations could again change the guidelines without the approval of Congress.

ANA's participation at the DC press conference is part of ongoing support for the effort. In May 2006 ANA signed on to a letter urging congressional support for the Pallone-Solis Toxic Right-To-Know Amendment, which would have blocked the TRI changes by preventing the EPA from spending funds to implement changes. While the House approved the amendment (231 to 187) during the 109th Congress, the Senate was unable to consider it prior to the end of the 109th Congress, and the provision was not enacted.

ANA' involvement in chemical policy issues reflects a resolution on Nursing Practice, Chemical Exposure and Right to Know adopted by the ANA House of Delegates in 2006. ANA believes strongly in the public's right to know about the presence of toxic chemicals in their environment that could have a serious impact on public health, and will continue to support S. 595/H.R. 1055.
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Title Annotation:ANA News; American Nurses Association
Publication:Nevada RNformation
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:410
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