Chemical Policy (TSCA)
There is widespread agreement that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the principle federal statute governing the use and safety of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives, is broken and needs to be reformed.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given responsibility but little authority to enforce TSCA. Enacted in 1976, this current law was broken from the start, grandfathering thousands of chemicals already on the market. This law is so broken and so weak that the EPA could not even ban asbestos, a cancer-causing substance that is still in use and killing thousands of Americans each year.
To date, the EPA has only reviewed a few hundred chemicals for safety. There are nearly 85,000 chemicals currently approved for use that the federal government and consumers know little to nothing about.
We need real toxic chemical reform that ensures protection of public health, especially to our vulnerable populations, and the environment from the hazards these chemicals pose.
A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. A companion study published just one day earlier revealed that this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin.Read More
EWG urges the California Air Resources Board to reverse a proposal that would weaken safety and anti-smog standards for cleaning products, cosmetics and other household products.Read More
Two powerful chairmen of the House committee that oversees the EPA are launching an investigation into the chemical industry’s undue influence on Agency panels that recommend critical public health safeguards for chemical pollutants. The inquiry stems from documents released recently by EWG showing that the EPA sacked a respected public health scientist from the Maine Centers for Disease Control as a panel chair, at the request of the chemical industry lobby group the American Chemistry Council.Read More
At the request of a chemical industry lobbyist, the Environmental Protection Agency removed the chair of an expert peer review panel charged with setting safe exposure levels for a toxic fire retardant that contaminates human blood and breast milk, according to documents obtained by EWG.Read More
Under pressure from chemical industry lobbyists, the Bush Administration fired the chair of an expert science panel at the Environmental Protection Agency that was evaluating the safety of a neurotoxic fire retardant, according to documents obtained by EWG. EPA is to issue by March 28th a reassessment of the human health risks from Deca, an industrial fire retardant used in electronics and other consumer products, and widely found in Americans’ blood and breast milk.Read More
EWG urged the California Air Resources Board to set strict, health-based standards for cleaning products, cosmetics and other consumer goods.Read More
Throughout the spring and summer of 2002, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducted a series of community meetings on the hazards of drinking tap water contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or C8) from DuPont’s manufacturing operations in Washington, West Virginia. Our analysis of the content of the materials presented by the DEP at these meetings finds them to be in conflict with positions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), with studies in peer–reviewed scientific literature, and with industry–sponsored toxicity studies.
What will it take to get presidential candidates to commit to stopping human-caused global warming?Read More
After the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that contractor Sciences International (SI) worked for companies who made chemicals under review by the agency, NIH let the company conduct its own internal investigation into conflicts of interest.Read More
Battery makers and lead smelters have been lobbying the Bush administration to roll back standards that keep lead out of gasoline and their efforts may prove successful for industry, that is. According to a statement released by the EPA earlier this week, the agency is considering dropping the lead limits in light of " the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant.Read More
The American Journal of Industrial Medicine reports this month on undisclosed conflicts of interest in cancer research: Some consulting firms employ university researchers for industry work thereby disguising industry links in the income of large departments. If the industry affiliation is concealed by the scientist, biases from conflicting interests in risk assessments cannot be evaluated and dealt with properly. Furthermore, there is reason to suspect that editors and journal staff may suppress publication of scientific results that are adverse to industry owing to internal conflict of interest between editorial integrity and business needs.Read More
Last month we reported on the outrage of some distinguished Harvard alums over a suspiciously closed-door “investigation” that cleared Harvard professor Chester Douglass of charges that he covered up links—revealed by federally-funded research—between fluoridated water and bone cancer in boys. He's the same Harvard doc who is a paid consultant for Colgate toothpaste, which is clearly pro-fluoride, and who donated $1 million to the university's dental school in 2001.Read More
Ex-FDA chief Lester Crawford pled guilty today to being the latest administration scumbag caught owning shares of companies he regulated. Crawford was forced out last year, after a grand total of two months as Food and Drug Administration Commissioner. (He was acting director for three years before that, because the Senate didn’t want to confirm him.)Read More
In response to the debate National Geographic magazine has recently sparked with its October 2006 article, "The Pollution Within," Environmental Working Group invites journalism students, working journalists and National Geographic in particular to address questions of whether information sources who espouse policy views should be cited in stories.Read More
The nation's system for approving and monitoring the safety of medicines is inadequate and needs far-reaching reforms, and the Food and Drug Administration is plagued with poor management and persistent internal squabbling, according to a long-anticipated study of the agency. The study, requested by the FDA, was carried out by the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit organization created by Congress to advise the federal government on health issues.Read More