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Does ChemHAT tell us everything we need to know about chemicals?
No. Because we don’t know a lot about many chemicals. And even when we do have a lot of good scientific information, the chemical industry often challenges the effort to turn that science into protective action.
ChemHAT is based on the authoritative governmental databases that list chemicals known to harm health and the environment. A chemical gets listed on one of these databases after a group of scientists and health professionals review all of the studies on that chemical. The chemical industry usually tries to stop the listing of a chemical as a cause of health harm and they are often successful in delaying or weakening the decision of the scientists and health professionals. So it is fair to say that the authoritative databases that are used in ChemHAT often underestimate the harm that chemicals are causing.
That’s one part of the problem. The second part comes from the lack of information on whether chemicals are safe or dangerous. The chemicals management law in the United States, the Toxics Substances Control Act, or TSCA, does not require that companies demonstrate that there chemicals are safe before they can be sold. Read more about the gaps in the regulation of chemicals in the United States.
The absence of data is not the same as the absence of harm. ChemHAT is designed to give its users easy-to use and accurate information on what we do know about chemicals and to help the effort to create more information so we can all make better decisions about chemical use.