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In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed concerning the reporting requirements of chemical manufacturers to the federal government concerning new chemicals they intend to market. The law exempted from public disclosure any information that could harm their bottom line.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the result is that of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, nearly 20 percent have their names and physical properties guarded from consumers. The concern was that trade secrets needed to protected in a highly competitive industry.

The Washington Post quoted Mike Walls, vice president of the American Chemistry Council, "Even acknowledging what chemical is used or what is made at what facility could convey important information to competitors, and they can start to put the pieces together," and found that at the same time:

Of the secret chemicals, 151 are made in quantities of more than 1 million tons a year and 10 are used specifically in children’s products, according to the EPA.

The chemicals clearly seem to be playing a role in all of our daily lives. The reality being that we have no idea what is in them and even what their names are. Hopefully, the EPA will move ahead with it’s plans for greater public disclosure.

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