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

It would require us to mail out forms and get information on 450 or more chemicals from 7,500 firms. We think that would require another 15 people [and $300,000 more in costs].

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William Reilly, head of the Philadelphia Health Department’s Air Management Services. Argues the costs would outweigh the benefits.

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.

We do not believe that merely furnishing a list of the ingredients of our products to the general public will enable the general public will enable the general public to intelligently decide which, if any, are liable to endanger the environment. What such a list can and will do, is enable our competitors to learn something about the nature of our products. With competition in the market place as it is today, we certainly do not need the City Council to help our out-of-town competitors.

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

Adding another layer of government regulations onto these federal programs which provide substantially similar protection to employees and the public as those proposed in the bill is wasteful, inflationary and unnecessary.

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Robert Vogel, chief regulatory counsel of the Rohm and Haas 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.