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LessChem – Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Less Chemicals for Ecosystems
Why? Because our marine life is dying fast and because we all suffer from chemical pollution, we need to restrict chemicals fast.
This petition is being delayed since we are focusing on other petition initiatives right now. However, we are interested in moving the content forward as a law or petition initiative. In 2022, the content was submitted for review by the attorney general and was considered to be to wide-ranging to ask voters an opinion. So, if submitted as a petition initiative, this would need substantially more work. In addition, the content needs to be formatted in correct legal form.
Changes or Suggestions
Like all proposals, this law could be amended. If you have a great idea, please say so.
This law would require a public process to report hazardous chemicals to be banned or restricted and limit certain chemicals at once. It requires companies to register chemicals and prove their safety. Municipalities and nonprofits could propose chemicals for a public review and comment period. After review, chemicals found to be hazardous could be banned state wide or, if irreplaceable and necessary, be restricted in use. An authority would need to be identified or created to manage databases, public consultations, and check compliance.
The law would also establish a research program to monitor chemicals, pollution and support remediation. Bioremediation locations would be established across the state to address toxins, focusing on more polluted communities.
The law would require products sold in the state at minimum meet the same chemical safety standards of the European Union within 3 years.
It would require that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection with the Toxic Use Reduction Institute Administrative Council and Science Advisory Board publish a list of concerning toxic chemicals. 8 dangerous chemicals (lead, mercury, formaldehyde, asbestos, arsenic, tris phosphate, benzene and cadmium) and the entire PFAS class are automatically placed on the list. Manufacturers must report to the Interstate Chemical Clearinghouse (ICC) if any of their children’s products contain the chemicals on the list.
Three years after any chemical is added to the list, no sales or distribution of children’s products with the chemical are allowed.
The entire PFAS class of chemicals is similarly banned and ICC reported with regard to cookware, fabric treatments, personal care products, rugs and carpets, excepting that this shall not apply to a retailers who does not know the product contains PFAS or to the sale or resale of used products. The department of public health shall coordinate with the ICC to create a public platform to report on PFAS and a registry of PFAS products in the state. Within 10 years, no product shall be sold with PFAS in the state.
Pesticides or herbicides in the PFAS class or in the neonicotinoid class of chemicals are also banned.
Single-use plastic products for which environmentally-friendly alternatives already exist are to be banned within 3 years, and non-single-use within 10 years.
Except for commercial agriculture, a ban would be set on the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides for turf, landscape, and outdoor pest management on both public and private property, allowing only pesticides certified under the USDA national organic program. The law provides there be support for a transition on Massachusetts farms to USDA national organic program certified pesticides and herbicides as well. Additionally, except for mosquito larvacide, all pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer would be restricted within 75 feet of a water body or wetland.
Within the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, the law establishes a mosquito management plan that prioritizes public education and outreach, surveillance of adult mosquitoes, monitoring and mapping of larval breeding sites, source reduction and wetlands restoration, and larviciding and adulticiding services, using chemicals used only as a last resort and never using aerial spray. The state may set fees for services.
To deter use of toxic chemicals, a tax is to be set on lithium batteries and any similarly toxic batteries, as well as a proportionate plastic sales tax set at the consumer level, at 50 cents per pound of plastic included in the single item and minimum 5 cents. For plastics, the deposit system is also to be fixed to make returns easier and worthwhile, with the amount set to inflation or interest.
For compliance, chemical industry and chemical manufacturer fines would be minimum $70,000 for violations, and for farmers and residences fines would ranges from $300 to $500. Market withdrawal orders and product confiscation are allowed. The attorney general can enforce the law, or others may as a qui tam relator. Whistleblowers may receive an award between 10% to 30% of total sanctions collected.