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Colorado's Fracking Laws in Jeopardy with Federal Bill

Photo: Actress Jessica Alba is among those fighting for greater consumer protection against chemicals in products. Courtesy: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Photo: Actress Jessica Alba is among those fighting for greater consumer protection against chemicals in products. Courtesy: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
May 22, 2014

DENVER – Consumer awareness of the chemicals used in the products Coloradans use every day, and even those utilized in the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing could be determined by actions in Washington in the coming months.

Legislation currently before Congress is meant to offer consumers greater protection against potentially harmful chemicals.

But Andy Igrejas, national campaign director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, says the proposed protections will leave out a lot of information for consumers.

"You can only react to what is known and the biggest problem with the toxic chemicals is that a lot of them are used in our homes,” he points out. “They get into our bodies through their use in consumer products and they literally have not been studied for their health effects."

Critics say the federal Chemicals in Commerce Act has weak standards to determine whether a chemical is safe and maintains the ability of chemical companies to refuse to disclose ingredients such as formaldehyde and arsenic.

The draft is currently in the Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado is a member.

Igrejas says it also would pre-empt existing state laws such as Colorado's Fracking Disclosure Program that requires companies to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process.

"In its place it would put this one federal system that would use the same standard, the same process by which the EPA was unable to even regulate asbestos 20 years ago," Igrejas says.

According to analysis by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, the current draft of legislation weakens the EPA's oversight of new chemicals.

Supporters insist the bill would offer adequate regulation to protect consumers.




Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO