Lautenberg's Legacy

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act, a bipartisan agreement, was a welcome surprise from Capitol Hill.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., died June 3 at age 89 due to complications from viral pneumonia, according to a statement posted by his Senate office. It mentioned several of the five-term senator's career highlights, notably passing the law to ban smoking on airplanes and writing the laws that set the nationwide blood alcohol limit at .08 and 21 as the legal drinking age. Lautenberg also should be remembered for his vital support of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, its chair, Rafael Moure-Eraso, said.

One of Lautenberg's final legislative highlights occurred less than two weeks before his death, and at this writing it has not yet been completed. He introduced the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, S. 1009, after working out an agreement on the legislation with Sen. David Vitter, R-La., ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Lautenberg also served on that committee, which is chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

The bipartisan agreement was a welcome surprise from Capitol Hill. The bill would update and improve the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by requiring that all chemicals be screened for safety and securing new health and safety testing for priority chemicals.

"This bill would finally update our laws to protect children and families from toxic chemicals, which is why the editorial boards of some of the country's most prestigious newspapers are calling for its passage," Lautenberg said in May after the bill's introduction. "The current law is completely ineffective, and every minute we wait to move forward puts our families at greater risk." He soon announced more bipartisan co-sponsors and support by former top EPA toxics officials, including the assistant administrator responsible for TSCA implementation during President Obama's first term.

The bill has been referred to the Environment and Public Works Committee. Its co-sponsors include Vitter and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2020

    November December 2020

    Featuring:

    • COLD STRESS
      Managing Cold Stress
    • TRAINING: FALL PROTECTION
      Providing Training for Fall Protection
    • PPE: HEARING PROTECTION
      Eight Tips for Hearing Testing Day
    • FACILITY SECURITY
      Incorporating COVID-19 Protections into Safety Programs
    View This Issue