CHICAGO- Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was joined by victims of toxic waste pollution to push for approval of the “Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act”, the top environmental reform bill facing the General Assembly this session.
House Bill 4268 - sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) - would require the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to use individualized notices, a web-based searchable database and newspaper announcements to warn citizens living within 2,500 feet of hazardous waste and toxic contaminants of their proximity to the deadly substances.
A recent investigative report showed that hidden toxins, hazardous materials and medical waste products often seep into groundwater without local residents knowing about it.
For example, in Naplate - a small town along the Illinois River - arsenic used in glassmaking leeched into the soil and water. Both the federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies knew of the arsenic pollution as early as 1983, yet the residents of Naplate didn’t find out until 2002.
“Hazardous and toxic wastes threaten the health of Illinois residents across the state,” Quinn said. “This is a serious public health issue. People have a fundamental right to know if there are deadly contaminants affecting the water they drink, cook with or bathe in.”
Quinn was joined by Jana Bendik, the Downers Grove teenager who is suing a suburban firm for causing her cancer, and Teresa and Al LeClerq, who were victims of toxic pollution produced by Lockformer, an industrial company which polluted their Lisle, Illinois, work site for 25 years.
“Unsuspecting Illinois residents send their kids out to play in soil that could cause leukemia or cancer. Often, federal or state bureaucrats know about the tainted sites, yet residents are kept in the dark,” Quinn said. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant and mandatory disclosure of hazards is the best way to warn potential victims of what danger lurks in their backyard or water faucet.”
“Under our Illinois Constitution, the people of our state have the right to live in a ‘healthful environment’. The Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act will help us carry out this fundamental constitutional mandate,” Quinn said.