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

We think the message here is that legislation that is punitive toward business and heedless of the impact on the economy of this City adds to the flight of business investment. The results of this are greater economic stagnation, fewer jobs, and deterioration in the public health and welfare.

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

[W]e all probably use salt, sodium chloride, on our food….Salt has been included in the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (published by NIOSH). The toxic dose of salt needed to kill half the test animals is about 1/8 ounce of salt for each 2.2 pounds of weight of the animal. Does this mean that the City of Philadelphia should regulate table salt?

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Roy. S. Anderson Ph.D’s testimony before the Philadelphia City Council.

I can assure you from my experience, it’s going to cost us jobs.

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

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.

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.