Majority of Michigan voters support stricter regulations on toxic chemicals

Poll shows strong support across party lines

A new poll shows that a majority of Republican, Democrat and independent voters in Michigan support stricter regulations on chemicals used in everyday products. The poll follows on the heels of a Senate oversight hearing on Tuesday into the efficacy and toxicity of chemical flame retardants commonly used in home furnishings. Momentum has been building to reform the main federal law regulating chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act.

pollIn Michigan, voters expressed support for provisions of the Safe Chemicals Act (S 847), which would require manufacturers to show that their chemicals are safe in order to sell them and give the EPA authority to limit uses of a chemical that may harm public health or the environment. Seventy-four percent of Michigan respondents expressed support for these provisions. Support remained high even when voters were presented with opposing arguments (59 percent supported).

Despite increasing political polarization about many environmental issues, support for chemicals policy reform is robust and bi-partisan. In the state-wide survey of 615 likely voters, 58 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 77 percent of Democrats supported increasing the regulation of chemicals.

“The findings of this poll demonstrate that Michiganders of all political stripes support a change in the way our nation deals with toxic chemicals,” said Rebecca Meuninck, campaign director of the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health. “We are calling upon Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin to listen to the will of their constituents and support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.”

There was an overwhelming amount of concern regarding the human health impacts of toxic chemicals found in the Great Lakes. Sixty-one percent of voters were extremely or very concerned, and 32 percent were somewhat concerned.

“As a neonatal nurse, I am acutely aware of the health effects toxic chemicals can have on infants and children,” said Joyce Stein, a neonatal nurse and member of the Michigan Nurses Association. “This poll illustrates that Michigan voters share our concern about the links between toxic chemicals and certain diseases.”

The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, from June 25-28, 2012; and had a margin of error of +/- 3.95 percent.

The Safe Chemicals Act is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). EPW will hold a hearing on “Oversight of EPA Authorities and Actions to Control Exposures to Toxic Chemicals” on Tuesday, July 24.

Update! The Safe Chemicals Act will be voted on in committee on Wednesday, July 25th. Please take action here and encourage our Michigan Senators to co-sponsor the Act.

EcoLink — July 2012
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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