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 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.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. We’re dealing with an enormously technical matter that the public doesn’t understand at all, that I don’t understand at all.

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

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.

[The right-to-know law is] a sop to a small group of people that I would call ‘overreactors’ I know it’s going to cost a business a helluva lot of money.

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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.