Something YOU can do!

20 04 2011

We’ve pointed out in several blog postings the names of various chemicals that are used in textile processing which are known to cause cancer.   These include (but aren’t limited to) antimony, pentachlorophenol, methylene chloride, arsenic, formaldehyde, phthalates, benzenes, PVC, sulfuric acid, acrylonitrile.  The fabrics we live with are full of chemicals that are known to cause cancer.  But so are lots of other products on the shelves of stores across America. And as Greenpeace reminds us, one American will die from cancer every minute during 2011.

Many Americans assume that their government protects them from exposure to chemicals that might harm them.  But according to GreenAnswers.org, it does not:

“Here’s a disturbing fact: The 33 year-old law that is supposed to protect Americans from exposure to toxic chemicals is so outdated that China legally exports toxic materials into the U.S. that are not only banned in Japan and Europe, but can’t even be used domestically in China.

Here’s another: Of the 82,000 chemicals available for use in the U.S., only about 200 have been required to be tested for safety.

Thousands of chemicals that have not been tested for safety are used in common items found in homes across America: in children’s toys and bottles, in food cans and soda can linings, in our mattresses, computers, shampoos, lotions and more.

Due to this unchecked exposure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found toxic chemicals in the bodies of virtually all Americans. Some of these are linked to increases in prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, heart disease, lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other diseases and disorders.

Unlike every other major environmental law, the nation’s main chemical safety law, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), has never been significantly amended since it was adopted in 1976. TSCA has serious flaws that prevent it from ensuring chemical safety in the U.S. It needs to be reformed and strengthened for our safety.

About one year ago, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) presented the President’s Cancer Panel report, in which they said that environmentally caused cancers are “grossly underestimated” and “needlessly devastate American lives.”

The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the fact that in the U.S., chemicals are assumed to be safe unless strong evidence proves otherwise.

Also about one year ago, in April, 2010, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced legislation to overhaul TSCA.  It was called the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010”. 
But one year, six congressional hearings and 10 “stakeholder sessions” later, the bill was killed, a testament to the combined clout of the $674 billion chemical industry, the companies that use those chemicals in their products,  and the stores that sell them.(1)

But Greenpeace thinks the issue is too important to let die.  It is joining up with 200 coalition groups to deliver a petition to President Obama in early May, asking him to make it a top priority to stop the use of cancer-causing chemicals in American products. (PLEASE join us, and sign the petition!  Click here).

Here’s the letter from Greenpeace:

One American will die from cancer every minute this year.

We all know someone impacted by cancer.   Yet despite the devastation it causes to our friends and families, it’s perfectly legal for companies to add known cancer-causing chemicals to products we use every day in our homes, schools and workplaces. That can change.

President Obama has the ability to reverse decades of failed policies and set the course for a national cancer prevention strategy that includes eliminating the use of cancer-causing chemicals in everyday products. But he’s not going to do it if people everywhere don’t speak out.

The NCI report’s final recommendation was for the President to “most strongly use the power” of his office to eliminate human exposure to cancer-causing chemical. We couldn’t agree more. Show him that you agree as well by signing the petition.

Cancer is a horrible disease but it can be prevented. It’s high time we made cancer prevention one of our highest national priorities.

For a safer and healthier future,

Rick Hind
Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner

All I can say is: amen.

REFERENCES:

(1) http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/10/13/reform-of-toxic-chemicals-law-collapses-as-industry-flexes-its-m/


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4 responses

21 04 2011
mb

signed petition and shared your post. thank you for the work you do!

25 04 2011
Building Materials Suppliers

All of the avove chemicals are now banned form landfill in the UK. But as you have stated these chemicals are still found in some products still available.

25 04 2011
oecotextiles

Thanks so much for letting us know the regulations in the UK. It is impossible for me to keep up with regulations around the world, let alone in the US. The REACH legislation also mandates the elimination of many chemicals that are still allowed in the US, And there is the issue, as you point out, of having products on the shelf that may contain banned chemicals.

26 04 2011
Ann

Sign it!! Because only if this becomes a priority in the United States will it become a priority in Canada.

Further to your remark on the President’s Cancer Panel report, I recently heard a radio documentary on this very topic: how many cancers once thought to be genetic have recently been found to be caused by environmental factors and toxins. Thank you for spreading the word.

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