On June 2, Congress passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21stCentury Act. The law reforms the current Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and expands the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority. But states and some advocates are concerned about federal preemption stalling state and local progress.
States such as California have historically provided strong leadership in chemical safety, and the new TSCA reforms interfere with stronger state and local policies. Numerous state attorneys general and environmental health officials, including those in Connecticut, Minnesota, and New York, have signed on to letters (here and here) opposing federal preemption.
Permanent, positive cultural change, as in the case of tobacco control, is the gold standard for progress in public health. In a 2012 article in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Mowery et al. confirmed the important role grassroots campaigns play in promoting social change. Read more
Across the country, cities like Philadelphia and Oakland are considering new soda taxes. Sara Soka, the Campaign Manager for Berkeley, California’s successful 2014 ballot measure for a local tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, shares the story of Berkeley’s successful grassroots movement and key lessons for other grassroots health and safety movements. The one-cent-per-ounce tax is funding school gardening, cooking, and nutrition programs, as well as community grants to address health disparities.
A strong coalition of grassroots leaders, workers, businesses, and policy makers organized for the successful passage of Seattle’s paid sick days ordinance. Seattle’s grassroots paid sick days movement is a model for grassroots leaders working across public health and civil rights issues, including workers’ health and safety. See our interactive timeline to learn more.