Toxic Substances Control Act: An Honest Update!

Toxic Substances Control Act: An Honest Update!

As parents, we do everything we can to help our families be healthy and safe. In fact, that’s exactly why we created The Honest Company.  But many Americans are shocked to learn that the main law regulating chemicals used in everyday products — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has not been updated since it was first enacted in 1976!  

To give you a sense of just how shocking this is, consider the following:

  • There are over 84,000 chemicals currently allowed for use in the United States.

  • When TSCA was first enacted, some 62,000 chemicals were “grandfathered in” – including bipshenol A (BPA), formaldehyde, flame retardants, and plasticizers — meaning they could continue being used without any additional safety testing or review.

  • The U.S. produces or imports 74 billion pounds of chemicals every day (up 76% from just a decade ago).

  • Under current TSCA authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has studied only about 200 chemicals for their effects on human health. Of those studied, just 5 have been banned.

The truth is, everyone from parents and doctors to environmental health experts and the EPA — even the chemical industry itself — agrees that current TSCA law is outdated and ineffective.

That’s why Jessica Alba and I traveled to Washington, DC in 2011 — before even launching The Honest Company — to urge Congress to strengthen our nation’s chemical safety laws.  In the four years since we founded Honest, we’ve proudly partnered with organizations like Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) to continue our advocacy efforts. And we returned to Capitol Hill last summer to reiterate our concerns about chemical safety and encourage Members of Congress to come together to pass meaningful TSCA reform.

After years of tense negotiating, Congressional leaders have finally arrived at a bipartisan deal. We want to thank Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rep. Fred Upton (R-LA), Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and many others for their leadership throughout the negotiation process.

Now that Congress has overwhelmingly passed the new bill, titled The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, it will soon be signed into law by President Obama.

This new law makes some key improvements to how EPA can regulate toxins in several important ways. For starters, the chemical industry will now be required to provide health and safety data for new chemicals and EPA will be able to prevent substances from reaching the market if they have not been proven safe. It also requires the EPA to consider our country’s most vulnerable populations — such as pregnant women and children —  when conducting chemical reviews.

At Honest, we are proud to be setting the standards for transparency and safety when it comes to the products we use everyday. We are optimistic that consumers and companies like ours will continue to demand more transparency and stricter, swifter regulation of toxic chemicals to protect the health and safety of all families.









Christopher Gavigan

Founder & Chief Product Officer


We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.