Burden of Proof ~ USA vs. European Union – True Goods
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  • Burden of Proof ~ USA vs. European Union
  • Elizabeth Wasserman
Burden of Proof ~ USA vs. European Union

~ Special thanks to the Science & Environmental Health Network who authored the original content, from which this has been adapted, in their September 2013 newsletter. ~

In a recent blog post from the Union of Concerned Scientists, they highlight how the European Union governs the use of chemicals. Instead of assuming that a chemical is innocent until proven guilty, which is what the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) in the United States assumes, EU laws call for a precautionary approach to chemicals through their Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

According to UCS, REACH is "the antithesis of TSCA" because REACH places most of the burden of proof on companies and asks them to demonstrate safety. TSCA, on the other hand, "requires the Environmental Protection Agency to have some proof that a chemical is unsafe before it can even begin to develop a regulation that requires a company to provide more information about a specific chemical, with the entire process taking two to 10 years." And new chemicals on the market are only required to submit data they have on hand, rather than doing new testing.

Anyone else think the USA is way behind the curve on this one? I do! “It’s time for our country to get back on the cutting edge of progress and protect people’s health and interests over corporate irresponsibility.” As always, my position is that it’s better to be safe than sorry…

~ Yours Truly, Liz

  • Elizabeth Wasserman