September 17, 2014

White House stalls critical EPA report highlighting chemical dangers to children

pin it button White House stalls critical EPA report highlighting chemical dangers to children

pesticide chemicals White House stalls critical EPA report highlighting chemical dangers to children

By Sheila Kaplan
American University School of Communication

A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report concluding that children exposed to toxic substances can develop learning disabilities, asthma and other health problems has been sidetracked indefinitely amid fierce opposition from the chemical industry.

America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition, is a sobering analysis of the way in which pollutants build up in children’s developing bodies and the damage they can inflict.

The report is unpublished, but was posted on EPA’s website in draft form in March 2011, marked “Do not Quote or Cite.”  The report, which is fiercely contested by the chemical industry, was referred to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where it still languishes.

For the first time since the ACE series began in 2000, the draft cites extensive research linking common chemical pollutants to brain damage and nervous system disorders in fetuses and children.  It also raises troubling questions about the degree to which children are exposed to hazardous chemicals in air, drinking water and food, as well exposures in their indoor environments — including schools and day-care centers — and through contaminated lands.

In the making since 2008, the ACE report is based on peer-reviewed research and databases from federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Housing and Urban Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Public health officials view it as a source of one-stop shopping for the best information on what children and women of childbearing age are exposed to, how much of it remains in their bodies and what the health effects might be. Among the “health outcomes” listed as related to environmental exposures are childhood cancer, obesity, neurological disorders, respiratory problems and low birth weight.

The  EPA’s website still notes that the report will be published by the end of 2011.  But after a public comment period that was marked by unusually harsh criticism from industry, additional peer review and input from other agencies, the report landed at OMB last March, where it has remained. No federal rule requires the OMB to review such a report before publication, but an EPA spokeswoman said the EPA referred it to the OMB because its impact cuts across several federal agencies.

The spokeswoman said the agency had no idea when OMB would release it, allowing publication.  Neither agency would discuss what changes had been made to the draft.

Some present and former EPA staffers, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their jobs, blamed the sidetracking of the report on heightened political pressure during the campaign season.  The OMB has been slow to approve environmental regulations and other EPA reports throughout the Obama Administration — as it was under George W. Bush, according to reports by the Center for Progressive Reform, a nonprofit consortium of scholars who do research on health, safety and environmental issues.

“Why is it taking so long? One must ask the question,” said a former EPA researcher who works on children’s health issues. “It is an important document and it strikes me that it’s falling victim to politics.”

The EPA states that the report is intended, in part, to help policymakers identify and evaluate ways to minimize environmental impacts on children. That’s an unwelcome prospect to the $674 billion chemical  industry, which stands to lose business and face greater legal liability if the EPA or Congress bans certain substances mentioned in the report or sets standards reducing the levels of exposure that is considered safe.

Among other findings, the report links numerous substances to ADHD, including certain widely available pesticides;  polychlorinated biphenyls  (PCBs), which were banned in 1979 but are still present in products made before then and in the environment; certain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as flame retardants; and methyl mercury, a toxic metal that accumulates in larger fish, such as tuna. The draft also cites children’s exposure to lead, particularly from aging lead water pipes, as a continuing problem (See Toxic Taps.)

Among the other widespread contaminants linked to learning disabilities is perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, fireworks and other industrial products, which has polluted water around the country. The Department of Defense, which wants to avoid paying to clean it up, is alarmed by research showing that the chemical interferes with thyroid function and otherwise damages the nervous system, according to R. Thomas Zoeller, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an expert on perchlorate, who has served on EPA advisory panels studying toxic chemicals. The Air Force is so concerned about the issue that it hired two contractors, Richard D. Mavis and John N. Sesso, who in 2009 defended the chemical in a letter to the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which had published an EPA scientist’s study noting that perchlorate impaired brain function.

One of the new sections of the report notes that children may be widely exposed to pollutants in schools and day-care centers. Among them are pesticides; lead; PCBs; asbestos, a mineral fiber long used as insulation and fire-proofing; phthalates, chemicals that are used to soften vinyl and as solvents and fixers, and are found in numerous consumer goods, among them: toys, perfumes, medical devices, shower curtains and detergents; and perfluorinated chemicals, which are used in non-stick and stain-proof products.  The study notes that these substances are variously associated with asthma, cancer, reproductive toxicity and hormone disruption.

Read the Full Article here: http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investigations/toxic-influence/story/white-house-stalls-critical-epa-report-highlightin/

Home Safe Home

Home%20Safe%20Home White House stalls critical EPA report highlighting chemical dangers to children

Learn about the health effects and safe alternatives
for more than 100 common household products!

0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Are GMO Foods, Vaccines, and Big Pharma Producing an Infertile Generation?

Are GMO Foods, Vaccines, and Big Pharma Producing an Infertile Generation?

Pin It

The U.S. fertility rates are at all-time record lows. Are we watching the leading edge of a slowly moving tidal wave of infertility? I wasn’t sure what is really happening with human fertility until I took a hard look at the data and the science. I now believe that there is strong reason to be concerned about the emerging trend of infertility. What is causing the current generation of child-bearing aged adults to become infertile?

How the FDA Deceives You About Mercury Amalgams

How the FDA Deceives You About Mercury Amalgams

Pin It

57 Percent of Americans Do Not Know Amalgam Contains Mercury!

Why exactly is the FDA so opposed to informing the public about the true nature of amalgam? The answer is simple: because the agency has been penetrated through the revolving door that’s so common in other industries. Just like Monsanto has penetrated the federal government’s regulatory agencies, amalgam profit centers have penetrated and effectively lobbied the FDA to remain complacent on this issue.

Ebola: WHO Turns To Experimental Drugs, But Not Proven Natural Remedies

Ebola: WHO Turns To Experimental Drugs, But Not Proven Natural Remedies

Pin It

As the world starts looking to invest millions of dollars for ebola drugs, the Catch-22 of drug economics (no one will spend the exorbitant sums needed to run clinical trials if the product can’t be patented and turned into a huge money-maker) practically ensures that natural treatments will be ignored. But could some of our oldest natural antivirals be used at least to inhibit the transfer of the virus—or even cure it?

Silver has also showed great promise as an antiviral, in both attacking the virus and in inhibiting transmission. So far, silver has been tested on HIV and herpes. Silver has also been used to clear HPV warts; inhibit the replication of the hepatitis B virus; kill the H1N1 virus; fight ocular infection; and kill the tacaribe virus, which also causes hemorrhagic fever, as well as the bacteriophage viral strain. Since disinfecting contaminated environments is the most effective method of halting Ebola’s spread, silver could be a most potent weapon in the battle. But we don’t see the WHO getting behind anything natural, whether effective or not.

Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being

Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being

Pin It

Your sense of smell exerts surprising influence over your thoughts, emotions, moods, memories, and behaviors. Aromatherapy allows you to harness the olfactory power of plants, using their essential oils to enhance your physical and emotional health.

Essential oils have been scientifically shown to be particularly helpful in treating stress, mood, sleep, pain, nausea, memory, and energy. A recent study revealed that humans can distinguish more than one trillion sensory stimuli, instead of 10,000 as previously thought. Scents can actually change your nervous system biochemistry.

Toxic Fragrances and Scents are Destroying People’s Health: How One Boy Nearly Died from Airborne Anaphylaxis

Toxic Fragrances and Scents are Destroying People’s Health: How One Boy Nearly Died from Airborne Anaphylaxis

Pin It

When we published John Thomas’ article earlier this year, Is Your Health Being Destroyed by Other People’s Toxic Fragrances?, some people commented that this statement made by John was over-exaggerating: “Secondhand fragrance contamination should be the number one health problem being addressed by the public health system in America, but it doesn’t even show up on the list of current priorities.”

However, others emailed us and thanked us for giving exposure to this national health crisis, because they have experienced it firsthand. It is not a topic that gets much exposure in the media, not even in the alternative health media. But there are many thousands of people suffering debilitating illnesses due to airborne chemicals in fragrances and scented products, and most of the rest of us are probably affected without even realizing it.

Rosa Silk is one of the people who emailed us, and shared her son’s story of how his life and health has been ruined by other people’s fragrances. She asked us to publish his story, and the publishers at AllergicLiving.com have given us permission to bring you the story of her son’s battle with airborne anaphylaxis, and her fight to pass legislation that would offer some protection from the chemical industry.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!