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Interesting Information: Letter to Maine Senators Snowe and Collins, Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

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Interesting Information:  April 11, 2012

Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

My Dear Blog Readers,

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 will be voted on this month.

I urge you to read the letter I wrote to my own Maine senators, and I urge you to write to your own senators about this issue.  Use whatever parts of my letter you desire.  You can copy text, google your senators, and send them information online.  All of them have email set up to hear from their constituents.  It only takes a moment.

I, personally, have lost so many loved ones and community members from cancer.  Many of these people were very young.  I know you have as well.  We have to back ourselves out of the mess we’ve made with all these chemicals.  And that will start by using real science to access the risk of each and every chemical in use.  Be aware that despite mainstream media information to the contrary–which constantly claims “cures” for cancer–these chemicals are killing us in alarming, record numbers.  The profits industry is making are not worth one single human life.

We must act together now.  Write your senators and congresspeople.




Dear Senator Snowe and Senator Collins,

I am writing to ask you to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 487), sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg.  Since 1976 the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been the only legislation controlling chemical use.  However, TSCA is toothless and, as such, has been powerless to prevent the use of chemicals that are harmful to humans.  As a result, we are awash with chemicals that are causing a wide range of illnesses, including cancer. 

Leigh Erin Connealy, MD, a cancer specialist, said in a recent interview that cancer is now the number one killer of people from 1 to 85 years old and that one in two men and one in three women will experience having cancer—the treatment of which has vastly increased national medical costs.  These rates are so horrific that they are hard to comprehend. 

In LIVING DOWNSTREAM, biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, PhD, wrote that a whole new class of very aggressive cancers is now increasing, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which has tripled since 1950.  Lymphomas are “consistently associated” with the phenoxy pesticides and herbicides which are used widely on crops, lawns, gardens, timber stands, and golf courses. 

Petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals, writes Steingraber, “easily interact” with our bodies and, thus, interfere with our life processes.  Many are soluble in fat and collect in animal tissues high in fat, like human brains, breasts, bone marrows, and livers, all of which are sites where cancer is increasing. 

TSCA “grandfathered” or exempted more than 60,000 industrial chemicals.  TSCA wrongly presumes that these chemicals are safe unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proves harm.  Yet in more than 30 years, EPA has ordered chemical manufacturers to fully test only 200 of what are now 80,000 or more chemicals.  Of the few thousand chemicals that science shows for certain are dangerous, EPA has only banned or restricted the use of 5 toxic chemicals. 

Further, after a recent EPA panel convened to access the risk of atrazine to human health concluded that there is a one-to-one relationship of this chemical with human cancers, EPA has pushed off any action until 2013.  Meanwhile, more people are dying.  This lack of action seems to me to be not only lacking in consciousness, but  immoral and unethical.  Industry is still free to continue to use tons and tons of this chemical every year.  It is now in all of our water and much of the soil where food crops grow.      

The President’s Cancer Panel 2009 report states that our regulatory system for chemicals is deeply broken; that we are putting ourselves and, more importantly, our children at great risk; and that we must adopt precautionary measures rather than using reactionary measures, which means waiting until sufficient numbers of humans are maimed or killed.  The Precautionary Principle states that no chemical can be used unless it has been thoroughly demonstrated not to be harmful for human life. 

The Cancer Panel directly connects cancer and environmental toxins.  Indeed, the Cancer Panel is “particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated” and that human “exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

The Cancer Panel determines that TSCA “may be the most egregious example of ineffective regulation of environmental contaminants”:  “TSCA does not include a true proof-of-safety provision”—which means “neither industry nor government confirm the safety of existing or new chemicals prior to their sale and use.”

The Cancer Panel surfaces the “catch 22” at the heart of TSCA:  it allows industry “to avoid discovering worrisome product information which must be reported by simply not conducting toxicity tests.  And, as the “EPA can only require testing if it can verify that the chemical poses a health risk to the public,” the “EPA has required testing of less than 1 percent of the chemicals in commerce….”  

In order to protect its market, the chemical industry has followed the very successful tobacco industry model, which Devra Davis details in THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR ON CANCER.  The tobacco industry spent astonishing amounts of money to advertise tobacco use, to delay negative decisions, to hide negative science, to craft favorable legal decisions, to obfuscate science with problematic studies from paycheck scientists, and to fire or discredit anyone saying tobacco use was unhealthy. 

Scientists are beginning to discover that very small amounts of chemicals can cause vast human harm.  Regulatory bodies, explains Dr. Frederick Vom Saal, have determined what they believe to be safe levels for humans by using an idea dating from the sixteenth century:  “the dose makes the poison.”  Vom Saal says this premise is false, especially for any hormone, like Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is “one of the most toxic chemicals known to man.”  Vom Saal explains that recent studies are showing that even minute levels of BPA are unsafe. 

We are, Steingraber argues, “running an uncontrolled experiment using human subjects”—an experiment that has had deadly consequences since the World Health Organization has concluded that “at least 80 percent of all cancer is attributable to environmental influences.”  Cancer cells, Steingraber argues, are “made, not born.”

It is very clear that we cannot continue using untested chemicals and enjoying healthy lives.  It is very clear that we are massively harming our children and tampering with our ability to procreate successfully.  It is very clear that we must develop a political will for change.   

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would  require chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate safety based on the best available science.  It is a step in the right direction. 

Again, I am respectfully asking you to support it fully. 


Written by louisaenright

April 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

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