Philadelphia Worker and Community Right-to-Know Act

Philadelphia Worker and Community Right-to-Know Act

The Philadelphia Worker and Community Right-to-Know Act requires employers that use any of 450 chemical substances to file Material Safety Data Sheets with various local government agencies. (An additional list of 99 chemicals will trigger the filing requirement if they are emitted from the workplace.) Material Safety Data Sheets must be made available to the public, upon request, through the governmental agencies where they are filed. Containers of these chemicals must be clearly labeled. (This was the first municipal right-to-know law.)

Cry Wolf Quotes

There already has been too much public hysteria over half-truths concerning nuclear energy, PCBS (polychlorinated biphenyls), industrial wastes, etc. What we do not need is for the City Council of Philadelphia to help in the slightest to create even more public hysteria.

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Richard Kiefer Jr., corporate safety director of the McCloskey Varnish Company.

The moment you get either people or lawyers apprised of the fact that a company has a toxic material on their premises, they’re going to bring a lawsuit.

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Thacher Longstreth president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and former Republican city councilman.

We must all be aware of one very basic fact: all, absolutely all, chemicals are potentially toxic substances….The key, as I have previously stated, is the quantitative level, the concentration at which any chemical substance is present. Thus anything, I repeat anything, present in an excessive amount is a toxic substance. You cannot legislate against every conceivable chemical substance and therefore, the need for a truly meaningful definition for a toxic substance should be evident.

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Richard Kiefer Jr., corporate safety director of the McCloskey Varnish Company.

Harassment and [a] nightmarish mountain of paperwork…would be caused by enactment of the bill in City Council.

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Thacher Longstreth president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and former Republican city councilman

Backgrounders & Briefs

Dying To Know: A Historical Analysis of the Right-To-Know Movement

This survey provides a sweeping analysis of the right-to-know movement in America.