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athena

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Member since: Sat Aug 7, 2004, 10:55 PM
Number of posts: 4,187

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The real problem is that U.S. law does not require proof that chemicals are safe.

To regulate any chemical, the EPA has to prove it's unsafe, which is often difficult. Indeed, a type of flame retardant that is banned in Europe and Japan is used in Mountain Dew in the U.S.

Instead of achieving flame retardant properties by using chemicals that later turn out to be unsafe, why not look for safer chemicals in the first place? Or, if there are really no safe chemicals that have such properties, why not look into making mattresses out of something less inflammable?

See this:
http://www.nrdc.org/health/toxics.asp

Under the current law, it is almost impossible for the EPA to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals, even those that are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects.

(snip)

Under the current law, the EPA must prove a chemical poses an "unreasonable risk" to health or the environment before it can be regulated. The law is widely considered to be a failure. When the law was first passed, 62,000 chemicals were allowed to remain on the market without testing for their effects on health or the environment. In more than 30 years, the EPA has only required testing of about 200 of those chemicals, and has partially regulated only five. The rest have never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on human health and the environment.

For the 22,000 chemicals introduced into commerce since 1976, chemical manufacturers have provided little or no information to the EPA regarding their potential health or environmental impacts.


and a related post:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/11426817

This study proves that obesity is not about calories and exercise.

People love to pretend otherwise, perhaps because they don't want to feel powerless. So many books have been written arguing that the French are thinner than Americans because they walk more and eat smaller portions. What is almost always ignored is that Europe regulates chemicals much more strictly than does the U.S.

Endocrine disruptors are not just about obesity; they may be at the root of many other conditions such as autism and infertility. How many people realize that sales receipts are coated with a type of plastic that contains BPA? How many parents are aware that many baby shampoos and lotions contain phthalates? Instead of seeing the real danger, people choose to focus on vaccines, which are not only essential for public health but have been shown time and again to be safe. Perhaps the reason people are reluctant to face the truth is that while you can avoid vaccinating your children, there appears to be nothing you can do to prevent them from ingesting BPAs and phthalates, along with thousands of other potentially dangerous chemicals.

There is, however, something you can do, not just for your children but for all future generations. Ask your senators and representatives to pass the Safe Chemicals Act.

See also:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/safe-chemicals-act-flame-retardants_n_1699384.html

Ninety-nine percent of pregnant American woman carry multiple manmade chemicals in their bodies, sharing that concoction through the umbilical cord. More than 80,000 chemicals permitted for use in the U.S. have never been fully tested for toxicity to humans, let alone children or fetuses. And 26 years have passed since U.S. lawmakers made any significant updates to the country's regulation of toxic chemicals.

(snip)

"I would bet if we went outside and asked anyone walking by if they thought that chemical companies have to do tests and prove a chemical is safe before it is used, they would say, 'Of course,'" Boxer said during the hearing. "Under the law currently, the EPA has to prove it is unsafe."

As Boxer and other speakers noted, this outdated regulatory framework differs significantly from laws in the European Union, where chemicals including flame retardants must be tested and proven safe before they are placed on store shelves. Studies have found that far more chemical pollutants -- implicated in everything from obesity and infertility, to autism and asthma -- course through the blood of Americans than Europeans.
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