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Chemical Disclosure Laws

September 01, 1985

For years elected city and county officials in Orange County have intentionally or inadvertently avoided passing adequate regulations to keep better track of hazardous materials in the community. We're glad to see that is finally starting to change.

Even industry, which has consistently resisted such laws, seems to be in a more cooperative mood. It should heed the words of one firm's environmental safety manager who warned that it is "almost inevitable, due to the recent chemical fire in Anaheim, that local and state government will pass laws requiring industry to disclose information on its toxic chemicals."

He's right.

Until last week, Irvine was the only city in Orange County with a law requiring companies to report the location, quantity, kind and health risk of all chemicals being stored or used. On Tuesday, Orange gave its initial approval to a similar law that is scheduled for final action Sept. 10.

That is about when the county Board of Supervisors expects a staff report on a mandatory chemical disclosure law that could serve as a model ordinance for the county's cities as well as for unincorporated areas. State legislation is pending in Sacramento that would require the inventory and reporting of hazardous material in all communities.

The statewide approach is best. Nothing less than a countywide approach is needed. But until that kind of law is on the books, communities like Orange are wise to get business firms moving on inventorying and reporting all hazardous materials so that the public, emergency personnel and employees will be well protected when they face the dangers posed by the next chemical leak, fire or spill.

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