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.

Harassment and [a] nightmarish mountain of paperwork…would be caused by enactment of the bill in City Council.

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

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.

Finally, you should be appraised of the need for security and secrecy to research and develop products. In many, many instances, such security would be unattainable under Bill 270. The lack of privacy and security would strike the hardest at our great and large corporations which research and develop most of the new products which enhance our health and quality of living.

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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.