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.

[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.

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.

[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

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.