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Inside the Boardroom of the Chemical Industry

Posted by Molly Rauch, MPH on July 7, 2010

Do you sometimes wonder how the chemical industry can be so oblivious to human health considerations?

Consider the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA). SOCMA officially opposes the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, introduced by Senator Lautenberg in April, which proposes updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time since its passage in 1976. No other major environmental statute has gone unchanged for so long – and its age shows. TSCA has been ineffective at managing the large universe of industrial chemicals in commerce. In its thirty-four year history, TSCA has resulted in only 200 out of approximately 80,000 chemicals in commerce being assessed for safety; only five of those were restricted for use.

But SOCMA claims that Lautenberg's proposed bill "overreaches" in its attempt to modernize TSCA.

Consider, also, the American Chemistry Council. The ACC states that "any effort to modernize our nation's chemical management system must start with consumer safety as its highest priority," and yet it is concerned that "the bill's proposed decision-making standard may be legally and technically impossible to meet." When I hear those two statements, I hear a PR machine getting geared up for action. I hear an ACC that is trying very hard to sound concerned with health, while stealthily opposing TSCA modernization with all its worth.

At least that's how I imagine things are going in their boardrooms.

Today, the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition, of which PSR is a member, has released an animated video depicting another scenario in the corporate boardrooms of the chemical industry. Watch now to see the "leaked footage" of corporate shenanigans on chemical policy reform.

Then, take action to demand safer chemicals.


Barbara Rubin said ..

Thank you for posting this summary of boardroom tactics in the battle for health in this nation. We are losing that battle: The tactics also include intimidation of activists and litigants since it will be the courts which ultimately set the course of our nation's evolution. I was threatened by one of several stalkers in the parking lot of a Vermont hotel with poisoning because of my status as an activist and litigant regarding pesticides. Tactics can be far more personal than mere advertising. It is time for activists to realize the personal hazards of informing the public of their vulnerabilities.

July 8, 2010

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