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

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.

This bill is the greatest piece of idiocy to come down the pike in quite a while. You know, people wonder why we’ve lost 145,000 jobs from Philadelphia in the last 20 years. If people would spend as much time trying to help develop industry in this city as they have trying to fight it, we’d be a lot better off.

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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.

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.

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.