EPA Drops the Ball…AGAIN…

How many times will a government agency drop the ball before it is either:

1)Dismantled–Unlikely

2)Completely Housecleaned–Just as unlikely

3)Deleted–Highly unlikely

4)Gets new management and staff–Ummm… Maybe?

Today in my inbox I get an email from this group I belong to. The group keeps watch on all kinds of different things and on their site are a few things that just make you wonder why mankind is still walking around! Some of that priceless Darwin Awards stuff. The group I’m talking about is PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. I highly recommend their site to anyone who wants to go read it. Their email today had to do with the EPA and guess what, Drugs in our Water!

Now, I was born, but it wasn’t yesterday. So if we are hearing about this now, they knew it a long time ago and already have a backup plan for this. You know when sensational stories like E. Spitzer come along, I’m always looking at what is going on in the background, what is it they are trying for me NOT to see? Anyway, you can bet they have something up their collective sleeves for dealing with this situation.

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2008
Contact: Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

EPA DROPPED BALL ON PHARMACEUTICALS IN DRINKING WATERDecade Behind Statutory Deadlines to Screen Chemicals from Drinking Water

Washington, DC — Scientists have known about the widespread presence of chemicals from pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in our drinking water for decades, despite recent media coverage of the issue. In 1996, Congress ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the issue, but the agency has missed deadlines and avoided addressing the growing contamination, according to an analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Chemicals from over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, hormones, cleaning agents and other products are not completely metabolized by the human body and are not screened in water treatment, and thus end up being discharged into rivers and lakes and entering our drinking water supplies. Many of these chemicals are also endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) that either block or mimic natural hormones, thereby disrupting normal functioning of organs.

In 1996, the U.S. Congress directed EPA to screen chemicals for hormonal effects on humans in the Food Quality Protection Act. During the intervening 12 years, EPA has done remarkably little, despite mounting evidence that thousands of chemical compounds are a spreading presence in drinking water:

* EPA is not listing known EDCs on its Contaminant Candidate List of priority contaminants which are anticipated to occur in public water systems. Even if EDCs made this list, however, Contaminant Candidates are still not regulated under federal drinking water regulations;
* Although it has identified more than 87,000 suspected EDCs, it has taken EPA 11 years (July 2007) to publish a list of only 73 chemicals for which it proposes to begin screening; and
* EPA has repeatedly missed statutory deadlines to begin testing
and screening for EDCs.

“EPA has simply shirked its duty to protect America’s drinking water,”stated New England PEER Director Kyla Bennett, a former EPA biologist and lawyer who prepared PEER’s analysis. “On issues of emerging contaminants in our water, EPA is moving with all deliberate delay.”

EPA’s webpage on pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) contains a bald assertion that these chemicals do not harm humans: “To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.” This assertion, however, is contradicted not only by scientists outside of EPA, but also from EPA’s own scientists and publications.

* EPA publications state, for example, “Endocrine disruptors … may cause a variety of problems with, for example, development, behavior, and reproduction. They have the potential to impact both human and wildlife populations”;
* Respected scientists outside the EPA, including at the World Health Organization, also caution that exposure to EDCs can result in adverse health impacts to non-humans, and therefore we must invoke the precautionary principal when considering the potential impacts on humans; and

* The drug industry itself is expressing more concern than EPA. The Associated Press quoted Mary Buzby, director of environmental technology for Merck & Co. Inc, as saying “There’s no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they’re at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms.”

Fetuses are at risk from even one part per quadrillion of certain chemicals, and children, the elderly, and people with immune deficiencies are more sensitive than the general population. This exposure pathway should be cause for great concern, not bland assurances,” Bennett added. “When it should be pressing forward, EPA is spinning in place, as if it has overdosed on pharmaceuticals.”

OK, so I’ll admit I’m a little fuzzy on that one part per quadrillion is, but it sounds like a very big small thing? Or maybe that is a very small thing that is big? From the EPA’s website you can get these choices to go further:

What I didn’t find was the ability to find their mandates or operating rules or the Bill that created them. I’m sure it is there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. There are links which apply to the States themselves and say what their rights and rules are, but I couldn’t find theirs.

By doing further searching on the web I came up with this information in relation to the Food Quality Protection Act This seemed to be what I was originally looking for on the EPA’s Site.

Now, this one is so typical of the federal government I just want to smack something:

Sets National Uniformity

Prohibits state and local governments from setting pesticide tolerances more rigid than those established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, unless states petition EPA for exception.

Now isn’t that just like the feds? You have to have their permission to do something that is GOOD for you, since THEY won’t??? < rolls eyes > Who thinks this stuff up??? Especially when the EPA seems bound set and determined to NOT DO ANYTHING. They consistently slap big business on the wrist with small fines for polluting and now you MAY NOT set more rigid standards for your State unless you get their permission first.

Anyway, it is an interesting site. But it doesn’t help us to figure out what to do about any of this. To find out more you will have to go visit the website.

Shall we add this agency to our list of those that can’t be trusted? I can’t say. What I will say is that We as Citizens have got to be more on the ball. If this can go on for over 10 years right under our noses, we’ve become way too complacent with the world around us and one of these days it is going to bite us in the assets!

Now, I happen to know the WHO is a liar in certain areas like smoking, however, I can’t say they mean the same harm here. I would imagine if they were consistently liars, they would have been totally discredited by now. That they have money and funding from some big wigs doesn’t mean much today.

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~ by justmytruth on April 3, 2008.

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