Congress Passes Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act

A bipartisan effort has resulted in a bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to revise the regulation of chemicals.  The new bill establishes a safety standard to ensure that no unreasonable risk of harm to health or the environment will result from exposure to a chemical under the conditions of use.  The bill is regarded as the biggest chemical safety legislation in 40 years.

The bill revises the authority of the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) to require the development of new information about a chemical by establishing a risk-based screening process.  The bill also sets deadlines for the EPA to designate a certain number of existing chemicals as high- or low-priority for safety assessments and determinations and conduct safety assessments and determinations for high-priority  chemicals.

Experts believe the bill will require an affirmative finding that chemicals are safe in order for them to stay on the market.

For more information on this bill, click here.

Reports Confirm 2015 Deadliest Driving Year Since 2008

An improved economy and lower gas prices have lead to increased driving, according to preliminary government data released last Friday. Americans apparently drove some 3.1 trillion miles in 2015, more than ever before.

Unfortunately, with increased driving came increased traffic fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities rose 7.7 percent to 35,200 in 2015, the highest numbers since 2008, when 37,423 people were killed.

Motorcyclists are likewise becoming a bigger percentage of the overall fatalities. Some attribute this increase in fatalities to weaker state laws regarding the use of helmets.

For more details, click here.

Five Facts about the Fourth of July

1. The 2nd of July may be the more appropriate date to mark our nation’s Independence. Congress actually ruled it in favor of independence on July 2. On July 4, Congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration. Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776 — John Hancock and Charles Thompson.

2. Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute, and fireworks. Congress didn’t make it an official holiday until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level — like Independence Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

3. Jefferson’s original draft of the declaration of independence was lost, and the one eventually signed is the “engrossed” document.

4. The printed version of the Declaration was called the Dunlap Broadside; 200 were made but only 27 are accounted for.

5. The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.

Mayfield Law Office and Staff hopes you all have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July weekend!