Senators jump onboard toxic chemical bill

"We look forward to continued support from our Senate partners so that we can act quickly to make sure dangerous chemicals don't contaminate our homes and threaten our health.”

The four new legislators jumping onboard are Sens. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate MORE (D-Iowa), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayLiberals seek ouster of HHS official blocking abortions CBO: Bill to shore up ObamaCare would reduce premiums by 10 percent Congress must stabilize the ACA to stabilize small businesses MORE (D-Wash.), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (D-Alaska) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiProposed budget for Indian Health Services won't treat Native American patients equally Keep anti-environment riders for Alaska out of spending bill Industry should comply with the Methane Waste Prevention Rule MORE (R-Alaska).

The bill, which was written by Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterTrump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? Not the Senate's job to second-guess Alabama voters MORE (R-La.) as well as Lautenberg, would give new powers to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and requires it to test high risk and new chemicals.

When it was first released on Wednesday, the legislation received a mix of support and scorn from environmental groups, some that considered the measure a sell-out to the chemical industry. 

Other green groups considered the deal a positive step to curb proliferation of unsafe chemicals.

The bill also calls for reducing chemical testing on animals, a feature for which the Humane Society's Director of Regulatory Toxicology Kate Willett said the group was "grateful."

On Thursday, two former officials from the EPA's chemical safety office called the legislation "a significant improvement" over current law and said it should "rebuild public confidence" in chemical safety. 

-- This story was updated with new information at 3:15 p.m.