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

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

[S]mall business today is struggling to swim upstream against today the constantly increasing current of restriction and regulation. I suggest that adding to this burden should be only done with the greatest of considerations for the benefits to be achieved, since each addition to the pressure will result in some businesses either giving up or changing their location.

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President of the W.N. Stevenson Company and representative of the Northeastern Chemical Distributors Council.

Not only is disclosure of this confidential trade secret data unnecessary to safety and health protections but raises serious questions regarding the taking of private property without compensation and due process in violation of Constitutional rights.

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Robert P. Vogel of Rohm and Haas Chemical Company

[The right-to-know bill would be] a serious case of overkill….[and] would make it very difficult to maintain a business in the city of Philadelphia.

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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.