September 27, 2010

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

The Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chairman

The Honorable Frank M. Inhofe, Ranking Member

The Honorable Frank R. Lautenberg, Chairman

Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health,

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

The Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Chairman

The Honorable Joe Barton, Ranking Member

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce

The Honorable Bobby L. Rush, Chairman

The Honorable Ed Whitfield, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection,

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce

Dear Senators Boxer, Lautenberg and Inhofe, and Mr. Waxman, Barton, Rush and Whitfield,

As investors with $35 billion in assets under management, we are writing to urge your support for substantial reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). We specifically endorse S. 3209, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 and H.R. 5820, the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 as the best legislation for achieving comprehensive TSCA reform.

Reform will:

  • bolster productivity and reduce health care costs
  • reduce overhead costs to business from managing toxic chemicals
  • promote the international competitiveness of American business
  • stimulate and reward innovation in products and industrial processes
  • lower market risks to companies and shareholders

The principal goals of reform should be:

  • fast-track regulatory action on well-studied chemicals, especially those that are prime candidates for restriction or elimination in international markets, particularly Europe
  • increase available information on chemical toxicity to reduce burdens on downstream manufacturers and retailers who want to reduce and eliminate toxic hazards in their products and supply chains
  • provide incentives for green chemistry, including expedited approval of chemicals with reduced toxicity profiles
  • incorporate strong “hot spot” provisions that identify and reduce hazards in communities disproportionately burdened by toxic chemicals such as Mossville, Louisiana
  • set a safety standard that protects the very young and other especially vulnerable populations from the low doses of chemicals and chemical mixtures encountered in every-day life.

Exposures to toxic chemicals produce a tremendous drag on the US economy, contributing to health problems throughout supply chains. Data continue to mount on chemicals in fetuses’ cord blood, amniotic fluid, breast milk and blood. Chemical exposures have been linked by scientists to various forms of cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reproductive health and fertility problems, and asthma.

Savings in health care costs from reducing exposures vary among studies, but routinely add up to billions of dollars annually. Chemical exposures lower worker productivity and raise corporate health care costs. Chemical exposures, especially those leading to neurological impairment, can relegate to the social welfare system individuals who otherwise could be productive contributors to the workplace. The most toxic chemicals also impose considerable overhead costs on companies. Costs include record-keeping, special handling and disposal, and accident prevention and response. As widely diversified investors we are concerned about the impact of these costs on the value of our portfolios.

Safer chemicals and materials can reduce or eliminate these costs. TSCA reform that speeds action on chemicals of concern whose toxicity is well-established can accelerate this cost reduction. It can also lower companies’ litigation, reputational, and compliance risks. History shows that toxic liabilities in a company’s portfolio can lead to significant litigation risk that negatively impacts shareholder value.

Companies are increasingly facing risks of “toxic lockout” from marketplaces, caught in a vise of, on one side, increased government regulations and, on the other side, restrictions by “retail regulators” adopting environmentally preferable purchasing programs. The European Union, individual European nations, various U.S. states, large retailers, health care companies, and companies in many other sectors have outdistanced the U.S. federal government in removing chemicals from the market place. TSCA needs to be strengthened to align it with these other leading efforts—speeding chemical management decisions and promoting data development and disclosure. Reform requires a federal law that contributes to innovation and competitiveness in the marketplace rather than serving as a bulwark impeding change.

Changes in data development and disclosure can especially assist those companies eager to reduce their “toxic footprint”. Regrettably, because of weaknesses in TSCA,

such companies have encountered major challenges in identifying the chemicals in their products and supply chains and gathering information about the toxic hazards associated with those substances. These challenges have been well-documented in assessments by organizations such as the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council and the Business/NGO Working Group on Safer Chemicals and Materials.

Kaiser-Permanente’s Vice President for Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Kathy Gerwig, undoubtedly spoke for many companies when she stated in testimony before both House and Senate committees on chemical policy reform, “Mechanisms are needed to support downstream users in procuring the safest products and materials for our needs.” Ms. Gerwig’s views were echoed by Construction Specialties’ Vice-President and General Manager Howard Williams in testimony on H.R. 5820. He commented, “Disclosure to commercial purchasers sends essential information down the supply chain to the product developer…restricting the use of and exposures to chemicals of concern…and promoting safer alternatives to them creates markets that are sustainable to businesses, consumers and the environment….It’s a time for innovation and product development. And a time for domestic and international business growth.”

A core goal for the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010/Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 should be to move American business swiftly away from 20th Century chemistry, with its legacy of Superfund sites, impaired human health, and damaged ecosystems, to greener 21st Century chemistry that will better serve the long term well-being of business, humanity, and Planet Earth. As Howard Williams commented in his testimony, “Cancer, Parkinson’s, Leukemia, Autism, Alzheimer’s and Endometriosis are non-partisan.”

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues as you move expeditiously toward establishing these essential policies. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Richard Liroff, Executive Director, Investor Environmental Health Network, at (703) 532-2929 or via e-mail at [email protected] or David Levine, American Sustainable Business Council, 202-595-9302 [email protected] with any questions or for further information.

Sincerely yours,

Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc., Bethesda, MD

Julie Fox Gorte, Ph.D, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing, PaxWorld Management LLC Portsmouth, NH

Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President, Environmental, Social and Governance Group Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company, Boston, MA

Jonas Kron, Esq., Vice President, Deputy Director, ESG Research & Shareholder Advocacy Trillium Asset Management Corporation, Boston, MA

Lauren Compere, Senior Vice President, Boston Common Asset Management, Boston, MA

Jerome L. Dodson, President and Founder, Parnassus Investments, San Francisco, CA

Kristina Curtis, Senior Vice President, Green Century Capital Management, Boston, MA

Steve Schueth, President, First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC, Colorado Springs, CO

Bruce Herbert, Chief Executive, Newground Social Investment, Seattle, WA

Judith L. Seid, CFP, President, Blue Summit Wealth Management, San Diego, CA

G. Benjamin Bingham, Managing Director, Benchmark Asset Managers, LLC, Philadelphia, PA

Jackson Robinson, Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Winslow Management, a Brown Advisory Investment Group, Boston, MA

Leslie E. Christian, CFA, President and CEO, Portfolio 21 Investments, Portland, OR

Michael Passoff, Senior Program Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Program, As You Sow San Francisco, CA

Wendy S. Holding, Trustee and Portfolio Manager, The Sustainability Group, Boston, MA

Peter W. Krull, President, Krull & Company, Darien, GA

Sonia Kowal, Director of Socially Responsible Investing, Robert Brooke Zevin Associates, Boston, MA

Jon Quigley, Managing Partner, Portfolio Management, Advanced Investment Partners, Safety Harbor, FL

Frank Rauscher, Senior Principal, Aquinas Associates, Dallas, TX

Patricia Daley, OP, Executive Director, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and, Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ

Sister Jean Amore CSJ, President, Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood (New Jersey)

Kathryn McCloskey, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, United Church Funds New York, NY

Sr. Rosemary Ryan, MMS Coordinator—Sector North America Medical Mission Sisters Philadelphia, PA

Nora M. Nash, OSF, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sisters of S.t Francis of Philadelphia
Aston, PA

Margaret Weber, Corporate Responsibility Director, Congregation of St. Basil Detroit, MI

Cathy Rowan, Corporate Responsibility Coordinator, Maryknoll Sisters, Bronx, NY

Ruth Kuhn, SC, Coordinator, Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Chair Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati – Corporate Responsibility Committee Cincinnati, OH

Judy Byron, OP, Director, Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, Seattle, WA

Diana Oleskevich CSJA, Justice Coordinator, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Associates St. Louis Province, St. Louis, MO

Eileen Gannon, OP, Executive Team Member, Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York, Sparkill, NY

Sister Helen McDonald, American Province Leader,, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Rosemont, PA

Ethel Howley, SSND, Social Responsibility Resource Person, School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund, Wilton, CT

Susan Vickers, RSM, Vice President, Community Health, Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, CA

Kathleen Coll, SSJ, Administrator, Shareholder Advocacy, Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, PA

Roslyn M. Brock, Vice President, Advocacy and Government Relations, Bon Secours Health System, Inc. Marriottsville, MD.

Edward Gerardo, Director, Community Commitment and Social Investments, Bon Secours Health System. Marriottsville, MD.

Sr. Rosemary Moynihan, Director, Ecology and Global Ministries, Bon Secours Health System, Inc. Marriottsville, MD

Stephen Viederman, Finance Committee, Christopher Reynolds Foundation, New York, NY

Barbara Aires, Coordinator of Corporate Responsibility, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Convent Station, NJ

Barbara Jennings, CSJ, Coordinator, Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, St. Louis, MO

Mark Regier , Director of Stewardship Investing , MMA Praxis Mutual Funds , Goshen, IN

Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Director, Shareholder Advocacy, Dominican Sisters of Hope, Mercy Investment Services, Inc.

Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province, New York, NY

The Rev. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, Director, Justice, Peace Integrity of Creation Office, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Washington, DC

Diana Oleskevich CSJA, Justice Coordinator, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and Associates St. Louis Province, St. Louis, MO

Constance Brookes, Executive Director, Friends Fiduciary Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

Gwen Farry, BVM, Sisters of Charity, BVM, Chicago, IL

Dan Apfel, Executive Director, Responsible Endowments Coalition, New York, NY

Michael Whelchel, Founder & Partner, Watershed Capital, Asheville, NC

David Price, Executive Director, Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation, Roxbury, MA

Karen Meidlinger, Founder and Managing Principal, Meidlinger Partners, Philadelphia, PA

Michael Lent, Co-Founder, Chief Investment Officer, and Principal, Veris Wealth Partners New York, NY

Vince Siciliano, President & CEO, New Resource Bank, San Francisco, CA

Stephen Blessman, Founder, EDB Organization, Chicago, IL

Seb Beloe, Head of SRI Research, Henderson Global Investors, London, UK