Deja Vu…The EPA
Didn’t I just do an article about the EPA? Yup, sure did! Here it is:
Now, from CommonDreams.org we have this little gem about them. Seems to me this agency needs a true shake up and needs to be staffed by consumers with scientists and doctors as backup staff, NOT as those on the board. How much is the public supposed to endure from an agency that is doing opposite of what it is supposed to be doing?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2008
CONTACT: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982EPA Convenes Panel to Strip Safety Standards That Protect Kids From Cancer-Causing Chemicals
EPA’s Advisory Panel Chaired by Scientist With Ties to Chemical Industry
WASHINGTON, DC – April 4 – Three weeks after the launch of a major Congressional investigation into conflicts of interest compromising EPA expert review panels and the revelation that EPA, at the request of the chemical industry, had fired a career public health professional as chair of an important chemical safety review panel, EPA convened yet another panel with members linked to polluting industries. The panel members are charged with reviewing a controversial new EPA document that would weaken safety standards put in place to protect children from carcinogens. The panel is set to review a controversial new EPA proposal that would weaken current health safeguards for carcinogens that were originally put in place to protect children. Oil and chemical companies stand to save millions if they can weaken EPA safeguards for carcinogens.
Since 2003 EPA guidance has required the agency to strengthen health standards by a factor of up to 10 to protect children from chemicals that are toxic to DNA, and are well established as compounds likely to cause genetic mutations, a critical step in the evolution of cancer in an individual. In their new, revised framework the agency has proposed to limit dramatically the application of this additional children’s protection to only those cases in which studies are available to definitely prove that a carcinogen to which a child is exposed causes cancer by mutating DNA. But federal law for industrial chemicals, the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, does not require that companies conduct such tests, or any studies to establish if their products are safe or not. EPA’s new proposal to consider chemicals innocent until proven guilty is a giant disincentive for voluntary testing.
To review their proposal, EPA has placed on its advisory panel scientists with ties to companies that manufacture and use some of the same cancer-causing chemicals that would be impacted by EPA’s roll-back of the agency’s children’s health protections. ³
EPA’s controversial reversal of a precautionary policy to protect children’s health deserves a rigorous review by independent experts,² said Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst with Environmental Working Group. ³Instead of wheeling and dealing to justify removing safety factors that protect children, the EPA review panel should be working to expand the scope of the Cancer Guidelines to make sure that children are protected from all carcinogens, regardless of how they cause cancer.²
The Agency’s proposed rollback is not consistent with a large base of science showing that chemicals that are toxic to DNA pose risks for mutations and cancer, and is not consistent with policies in place at FDA and internationally. EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee recommends that EPA’s guidelines be redrafted to state that standards will be strengthened to protect children unless data are available to definitively show that such protection is not merited. If EPA’s draft guidelines become policy, they could allow companies to use greater amounts of carcinogens and could increase children’s exposures to carcinogens.
EWG reviewed the professional background of the panelists and found 2 individuals with ties to industries that would benefit from weakened cancer standards, including the panel chair.
Bette Meek (chair) is a member of the technical committee for the industry-funded International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and sponsor of an industry-funded effort to explore the biological significance of DNA adducts the key issue at hand in EPA’s proposed change to their cancer guidelines. ILSI’s work on mutagens is sponsored by: AstraZeneca, Dow Chemical, DuPont, ExxonMobil, Merck, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Schering-Plough, Shell Chemicals and others who stand to benefit from a relaxation of cancer standards.
In 2006 ILSI was restricted from developing risk standards at the WHO due to industry influence. EWG demands that Meek fully disclose her role in ILSI’s work on mutagens, and that ILSI fully disclose the role of industry funding in their development of mutagen guidelines. Publicly available information suggest that the relationship between Meek and ILSI clearly makes her unfit to chair this historic panel.
Jerry M Rice has previously served as a consultant for the American Petroleum Institute on benzene, a potent mutagen. Rice is also a consultant for the law firm of Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann that represents chemical companies that manufacture mutagenic chemicals. Rice should fully and publicly disclose his work for companies who could benefit from weaker standards.
Both Meek and Rice have criticized Œpublic interest’ scientists who hold a more precautionary viewpoint about risk assessment for mutagens, all of whom have been excluded from the panel. ³The EPA must make decisions and implement policies without undue influence or pressure from the chemical industry by removing panelists with conflicts of interest from all advisory panels. Until this is done, the external peer review of EPA’s decisions cannot be considered a valid process,² added Lunder.
EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.
The press release posted here has been provided to Common Dreams NewsWire by one of the many progressive organizations who make up America’s Progressive Community. If you wish to comment on this press release or would like more information, please contact the organization directly.
*all times Eastern US (GMT-5:00)
This is the same EPA that has raised standards for City Clean air while lowering fines for companies that violate our air quality standards. You tell me what incentive there is for these companies to hold to the letter of the law? In effect, most Cities are in violation of the EPA’s standards because this regulating body can’t seem to pull its collective head out of the dark places it has put them in.
From the EPA’s own website on the toxic chemicals we have this little blurb:
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.
The objective of the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) is to allow EPA to regulate new commercial chemicals before they enter the market, to regulate existing chemicals (1976) when they pose an unreasonable risk to health or to the environment, and to regulate their distribution and use.
How effective can this agency be when it is run by those companies that it sets to regulate? Call me blonde, but don’t call me stupid. Even I can read the writing on this wall. We need to clean house here and make sure that those in a position of authority deserve to be there and that those whose loyalties lie elsewhere BE elsewhere!
I’m not a fan of WHO either having caught them in disinformation campaigns, but most people trust them. I wouldn’t, but that is just me. Their very title makes them suspect in my book, WORLD Health Organization. World is the key word there. Being interested in the World first, you and I second or last (?), I have to wonder how many chemical, petroleum, etc. people are on their members board???
Be that as it may, if it helps with accountability from the EPA, I’m all for it, even though I don’t endorse them, (WHO). We’ve got a mighty big house to clean here in the United States of America. Let’s get to it!