Friday, April 4, 2008

It's about damned time!

Congress FINALLY put the chemical industry in the US "on notice!"

The Energy and Commerce Committee has asked the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council to provide the following information. This is going to get UGLY!

  1. All records relating to Dr. Deborah Rice;
  2. All records relating to Robert Schnatter, James Klaunig, James Swenberg, Vernon Walker, Lorelei Mucci, Dale Sickles, Elizabeth "Betty" Anderson, Susan Borghoff, and Deborah Barsotti;
  3. All records of communications relating to the membership of EPA external peer review panels;
  4. All records of payments to and communications with the Weinberg Group;
  5. All records of payments to and communications with William F. "Bill" Carroll;
  6. All records of payments to the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and officials of the organization;
  7. All records of payments to any officials of the journal, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, including editors, associate editors, editorial board members, and authors of articles published therein;
  8. All records of payments to the law firm Keller and Heckman, L.L.P., and
  9. A written explanation as to whether those individuals identified in our March 13, 2008, letter to EPA, in the opinion of the American Chemistry Council, have any type of conflict of interest related to their membership on their respective EPA panels. For each individual without such a conflict, please explain why their circumstances are distinguishable from that of Dr. Deborah Rice. In addition, for individuals with such a conflict, please explain whether the ACC believes that each individual should be removed from their respective EPA panels, or if the panels have finished their work, please provide a written explanation as to whether the ACC believes that the individuals who do have a conflict of interest should also be removed from their respective EPA panels or, if the panels have finished their work, whether the comments and opinions of those individuals should be redacted from their panels' work product.

The above request applies to the American Chemistry Council as well as all of its constituent subsidiaries such as the Chlorine Chemistry Council, Society of Plastics, American Plastics Council, Vinyl Institute, and any other subsidiary currently and prior to their merger with the American Chemistry Council.

To which, I have to say-- it's about freakin' time someone look in to these and other incidences. Many of the chemicals in cleaning products have not ever been tested, as they were developed and grandfathered in prior to the passing of Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). Those chemicals introduced prior to 1979 were issued a "waiver" and assumed to be safe. Now let's think about that...

The same companies that were dumping crap all over our nation, creating numerous Superfund sites, including the very first Superfund site-- Love Canal-- those companies whose products were poisoning our environment and people-- they received a waiver! There is no incentive for companies to test those chemicals. Actually, there is dis-incentive, because if it is found to be harmful, people would stop using that chemical or it could be pulled from the shelf, causing the company to lose money.

Those new chemicals on the shelf? They haven't necessarily been tested or scrutinized either! Taken from an article on the EWG website:

Since the law passed, more than 82,000 chemicals have been registered with the EPA; environmental health scientist Michael Wilson says only a few thousand have received careful vetting. "The great majority of chemicals in common use have not been adequately studied for their effects on human health," says Wilson, executive director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley. "The big picture is that there's a complete lack of basic public health information."
Think about that. 82,000 chemicals registered. A few thousand scrutinized. That means there are tens of thousands out there untested.

TSCA needs an overhaul, and the chemical industry needs better oversight. They will not do it on their own (see Love Canal). Become the next Lois Gibbs. Be the change you want to see in the world-- through your spending, voice, and/or writing.


KaritaG said...

It's about damned time. Thanks for the info.

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