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

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.

-
“Expand ‘right-to-know’ effort", The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The bill produces no protection for legitimate industry trade secrets, the disclosure of which would not be necessary to protect health or the environment.

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

Not only is disclosure of this confidential trade secret data unnecessary to safety and health protections but raises serious questions regarding the taking of private property without compensation and due process in violation of Constitutional rights.

-
Robert P. Vogel of Rohm and Haas Chemical Company

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.

-
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.