Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content

Support PSR!

Make a difference in the challenge to confront global warming and prevent nuclear war and the development and use of nuclear weapons.

Donate Now »

Take Action

Please voice your support for a strong, health-protective rule by submitting your comment to the EPA today.

Human Testing Exposing Children to Chemicals

"Gag Rule" for EPA Scientists among Bush Legacy

October 20, 2008

Contacts:  Stephenie Hendricks 415-258-91261 or stephdh@earthlink.net
Will Callaway, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 202-667-4260 or wcallaway@psr.org

October 20, 2008 - Physicians for Social Responsibility, an EPA scientists union official, and many more professionals working in science and health sent a letter to both the McCain and Obama campaigns today asking that chemical exposure be made an urgent priority for the next administration.  The groups noted that  rising rates of obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, reproductive problems, neurodevelopmental disabilities, childhood cancers, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are just a few of the illnesses associated with chemical exposures.

Results of the survey can be found at www.psr.org/Top5

Kristen Welker-Hood, Director, Environment and Health Programs with Physicians for Social Responsibility, said, "We conducted a convenience sampling opinion survey on the top five worst actions by the current administration on toxic chemical issues that need to be remedied immediately. Those voting include physicians, nurses, public health advocates, and scientists, including scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency."  Participants also voiced their concerns about efforts to minimize the community right to know provisions found in the Toxic Release Inventories Act, an important tool to alert citizens to toxic contamination releases in their communities.

Removal of protections for workers from toxics in the workplace, failure to assist communities across the nation that have high rates of illness from toxic chemical contamination, and many more other issues were among the concerns pointed out by the groups., As well, the failure of the U.S. EPA to regulate perchlorate in spite of scientific studies demonstrating health hazards is one of the many examples of inaction to protect public health. 

"The threat of toxic chemical exposure to our health has been left out of the nationwide political discussion.  The Top 5 Worst Actions is an attempt to grab the attention of the public and the presidential candidates about a real and immediate threat," concluded Welker-Hood.

Many scientists and public health organizations expressed frustration with the recent FDA draft assessment of bisphenol A (BPA), a highly toxic chemical commonly used in hard clear plastics such as polycarbonate water bottles, baby bottles, and kids sippy cups. In focusing their assessment on only two industry-funded studies, FDA has disregarded a large body of literature demonstrating a wide array of adverse outcomes from at current levels of exposure. For example, from animal studies there is evidence that exposure of females during early life is associated with pre-cancerous lesions in breast tissue. In males, early-life exposures have been shown to alter prostate development and predispose the prostate to pre-cancer lesions.

"The failure of the FDA to take these data seriously has the potential to expose our children to unsafe levels of a chemical linked to diseases and conditions affecting millions of Americans" said Dr. Jennifer Sass, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "When the FDA declared bisphenol A safe, it relied only on two industry-funded studies, ignoring more than 100 studies that show that BPA exposure—even at very low doses—is linked to an alarming number of health problems, including breast cancer," added  Janet Nudelman, director of programs and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund.

Some actions taken by the administration simply were not sufficient.  "The intentional dosing of human beings, including children with pesticides is unethical and truly shocking. Although the rules promulgated by EPA in 2006 helped close the door to this abusive practice, there is still room for improvement" noted Alan H. Lockwood, MD, FAAN, Professor of Neurology at the University at Buffalo and a Past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Dr. William Hirzy, who is vice president of NTEU Chapter 280 (EPA Headquarters) and chemist in residence at American University added, "One major example of the harm this administration has done to the American people is its failure to respond to the National Research Council Committee on fluoride toxicity report for their 6-year review of the fluoride drinking water standard, which found that EPA's drinking water standard for fluoride does not protect public health. The Committee also found that the evidence for fluoride's carcinogenicity should be taken more seriously by EPA."

Available for Interviews:

Kristen Welker-Hood, ScD MSN RN, Director, Environment and Health Programs, Physicians for Social Responsibility, kwelker-hood@psr.org or 202.667.4260 ext 244.  Kristen can address the Survey results, the need for chemical policy reform, the role for health professionals in this reform, and can also address children's environmental health.

Dr. J. William Hirzy, Vice-President NTEU Chapter 280 (EPA HQ Professionals Union), and Chemist in Residence, American University. To schedule an interview, contact Stephenie Hendricks 415.258.9151 stephdh@earthlink.net. Dr. Hirzy can address scientific integrity issues and EPA scientists' concerns.

Davis Baltz, PhD. Commonweal, dbaltz@igc.org. Davis can explain the Precautionary Principle, the underlying foundation for the EU REACH chemical policy and about the needed chemical reform here in the U.S.

Ann Blake, Ph.D. Environmental & Public Health Consulting annblake@comcast.net 510.769.7008

Elizabeth Crowe, Director, Kentucky Environmental Foundation elizabeth@cwwg.org.

Lindsay Dahl Healthy Legacy MN 612.870.3458 ldahl@iatp.org. Lindsay Dahl coordinates the Healthy Legacy coalition, and works on state policy initiatives on chemical reform issues.
 
Jim Dawson, Toxic Free Legacy Coalition, jdawson@watoxics.org, 360.292.8540 

Daryl Ditz, PhD. Center for International Environmental Law, 202.785.8700, dditz@ciel.org. Daryl can address the U.S. involvement in international treaties on chemicals and address where the U.S. is relative to the European Union REACH policy.

Ben Dunham, Earthjustice. bdunham@earthjustice.org, 202.667.4500. Ben can address a new EPA ruling that will allow exempting nearly 4 billion pounds of hazardous waste from regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at the request of the chemical industry and manufacturers' lobbyists. These toxin and carcinogen-laden wastes will no longer be tracked or monitored and can now be disposed of on-site or by any fly-by-night waste handle

Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida. Farmworkerassoc@aol.com. Jeannie can address the harm to agricultural communities and to farmworkers from pesticide exposure.

Professor Daniel Faber PhD., Director, Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative d.faber@neu.edu 617.373.2878. Author  Capitalizing on Environmental Injustice: The Polluter-Industrial Complex (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Daniel can give an overview on the corporate influence in regulation on environmental protections.

Adam M. Finkel, Sc.D., CIH, finkelam@umdnj.edu, 609.2584828. Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health. Dr. Finkel can address how chemicals are evaluated for being "safe" in the workplace.

Christopher Gavigan, CEO / Executive Director, Healthy Child Healthy World 310.820.2030 http://www.healthychild.org/. Christopher can tell parents how to raise children in a least toxic environment.

Anila Jacobs, MD, senior scientist with Environmental Working Group. To schedule an interview with Anila, contact Alex Formuzis 202.939.9140. Dr. Jacobs can address EPA and FDA regulatory failure and health effects of prevalent, under regulated chemicals such as bisphenol A and phthalates.

Sanford Lewis, JD. Counsel, Investor Environmental Health Network  413.549.7333. Sanford is an environmental attorney with over 20 years of experience in environmental law and policy, including 18 years of work on public campaigns.  Sanford can address company liability from chemical exposure issues, stockholder actions, and two films on chemical issues he has directed and produced, "Contaminated without Consent" and  "The Truth About Cats, Dogs, and Lawn Chemicals."

Danielle Lucido, Staff Attorney,  Worksafe 171 12th Street, 3rd Floor Oakland, CA dlucido@worksafe-cosh.org. Ms. Lucido can address the risk to workers from weakened protections against toxic chemical exposure.

Franklin E. Mirer, PhD, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Urban Public Health Program, Hunter College, 313.605.2046    fmirer@hunter.cuny.edu, can address the failure of OSHA to protect workers against cancer and other effects of toxic chemical exposures at work, and the way forward which a new administration should take.

Mark A. Mitchell M.D., MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice mark.mitchell@environmental-justice.org. Dr. Mitchell can address communities suffering from chemical contamination.

Teresa Niedda, Farmworker Health and Safety Institute, cata@cata-farmworkers.org. Teresa can speak about contamination of farmworkers, their families, and risk to others from pesticides.

Janet Nudelman, Breast Cancer Fund. To schedule an interview, contact Shannon Coughlin, 415.336.2246, Coughlin@ breastcancerfund.org
  
Daniel Parshley, Project Manager 912.466.0934 gec@glynnenvironmental.org. Daniel can talk about his community's struggle to protect children from widespread chemical contamination of their school and surrounding areas near Brunswick, Georgia.

Judith Robinson, Director of Programs, Environmental Health Fund, jrobinson@igc.org. Judith can speak about concerns of parents on chemical exposure and can give a general overview on needed chemical reform.

Jennifer Sass, PhD. NRDC Senior Scientist, Natural Resource Defense Council, 202.289.2362, jsass@nrdc.org Dr. Sass can address the human testing rule, scientific integrity issues, and the need for chemical regulatory reform.
 
Mike Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator, The Center for Health, Environment and Justice 212.964.3680, mike@chej.org http://www.besafenet.com/pvc Mike can address the bisphenol A issue, especially as it pertains to consumers and retailers choosing non-BPA products when our federal agencies fail at regulating ZBPA.
 
TJ Sheehan, Professor Emeritus University of Connecticut School of Medicine, statistics and epidemiology. Sheehan@nso.uchc.edu 

Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Coordinator, Clean Water Action. 202.895.0420 ext. 109 http://www.cleanwateraction.org/. Lynn will address the need for chemical policy reform and what is happening with federal policy.

Sarah Uhl, Clean Water Action suhl@cleanwater.org, 860.232.6232. Sarah works on state and local chemical policy reform as coordinator of the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut.
Ken Watson Executive Director W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center 596 Manning Blvd. Albany, New York 12210 518.463-9760 Cell: 518.331.0298 whbeec@gmail.com
Craig Williams, Director, Chemical Weapons Working Group craig@cwwg.org 859.986.7565

Resources

Physicians for Social Responsibility - http://www.psr.org/

Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Baby's Toxic Bottle Report (including BPA fact sheet)
Center for Health, Environment and Justice

Breast Cancer Fund 
 
Center for International Environmental Law

Chemical Offender: Bisphenol A
Breast Cancer Fund

Chemical Weapons Working Group

Clean Water Action

Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut

Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice

Contaminated Without Consent, 16 minute introductory video on toxic chemical exposure.

EarthJustice

Environmental Working Group

Farmworker Heath and Safety Institute

FDA Decision on BPA Outrages Health Advocates
Scientific studies ignored on bisphenol A evaluation

Glynne Environmental Coalition

Healthy Child, Healthy World  a guide to raising children in a less toxic environment.

Healthy Legacy Coalition  for a guide to less toxic plastics
Is It In Us? Biomonitoring study shows BPA contamination in the bodies of 35 people nationwide

Kids Safe Chemicals In Congress
Healthy Child, Healthy World

National Treasury Employees Union

Natural Resources Defense Council

Not That Innocent: A Comparative Analysis of Canadian, European Union and United States Policies on Industrial Chemicals, identifies structural deficiencies in the Toxic Substances Control Act and "best practices" drawn from policies in place in other countries.
Environmental Defense

Precautionary Principle
Commonweal

Safer States  Find out how states are working for better chemical regulation.

Union of Concerned Scientists FDA Scientists Survey 
 
U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee: Investigation and Oversight Subcommittee on Government Oversight Letter to American Chemistry Council President and CEO Gerard to in regard to the use of consulting firms to manipulate public opinion related to the use of Bisphenol A and other chemicals

U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee: Investigation and Oversight Subcommittee Regarding BPA 

Share

EmailFacebookTwitter
Share on Facebook
Cancel
Share on MySpace
Cancel
Share on Twitter
A short URL will be added to the end of your Tweet.

Cancel
Share on LinkedIn
Cancel

Related Contact

Action Alerts

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Annual Report 2012

    PSR is pleased to present its 2012 Annual Report to our members and other stakeholders. Read more »

  • Toxic Chemicals in Our Food System

    What chemicals are in the food we eat? Chemicals are used in every step of the process that puts food on our table: production, harvesting, processing, packing, transport, marketing and consumption and can be dangerous to our health. Read more »

  • Fracking: Harm on the Farm

    Chemical exposures that harm farm animals and wild animals raise concern about health risks for people living near fracking sites, as the animals use the same water and breathe the same air as humans. Another, indirect concern for human health also exists: in multiple known cases of chemical exposure, cows continued to produce dairy and meat for human consumption, although it remained untested for chemical contaminants. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • July 17, 2014
    Our Best Opportunity to Cut Climate Change
    We need you to take action now! Tell the EPA that its proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants Is vitally important and on the right track – but can be strengthened.