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

When the City Council was considering the right-to-know law, lobbying was intense. Those opposed to it argued that the tough regulations would drive businesses from the city. That threatened exodus has not happened.

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“Expand ‘right-to-know’ effort", The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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.

Council Bill 270 sets up rules of the game which do not apply anywhere else. The members of this committee, as well as the many others in this room concerned with Philadelphia’s economic well-being, know that we already have a major problem in attracting industry to our city as well as a problem in maintaining our basic industrial job-base.

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Anthony F. Visco, Senior Vice President of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

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.

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.