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

No jobs have left the city because of the toxic-disclosure law…. But whatever the figures for a statewide right-to-know law, it is hard conceive of them outstripping the astronomical costs—in tarnished corporate images, in legal expenses and in compensating and caring for sick employees—that await businesses without formal, accepted mechanism to warn workers about the health risks they face on the job.

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“Sniping at the right-to-know”, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

[I]t is conceivable that this trade secret data would be considered so valuable that a company would elect not to do business in Philadelphia rather than disclose it and so I have detailed our concerns on the issue of confidentiality.

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Robert P. Vogel of Rohm and Haas Chemical Company

It is a bad bill based on undemonstrated premises. It will accomplish nothing constructive in Public Health value, but rather will do a great deal of harm to the City’s business and commerce, and most importantly, its economy.

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

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

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.