Lobbyists Keep Chemical Off Fed Hazard List
FEBRUARY 18, 2010
A household chemical banned in several states after hundreds of scientific studies deemed it unsafe has been kept off a federal agency’s hazard list by powerful lobbyists who swayed Obama Administration officials to keep quiet about its dangers.
Used to make hard, clear plastic Bisphenol A (widely known as BPA) was earmarked to be included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of dangerous chemicals that need tougher regulation. In fact, the head of the EPA (Lisa Jackson) has publicly spoken of the chemical’s dangers on several occasions, revealing its potential cancer-causing threats and negative affects on brain development.
But influential industry lobbyists convinced Obama Administration officials to order federal regulators to delay taking action against BPA, according to a story in a Wisconsin newspaper that has closely monitored how the feds are caving into special interests associated with the controversial chemical. The move certainly seems unscrupulous considering the EPA’s tough-talking director repeatedly vowed to protect the public from such toxic chemicals.
Now the EPA says it won’t develop a tougher regulatory plan, such as stricter labeling and reporting requirements, for BPA for at least two years. One knowledgeable physician who has followed the case says a “multimillion-dollar PR and lobbying campaign by the chemical industry” has allowed continued use of BPA despite its well-documented hazards.
A few months ago the same campaign fulfilled its mission by getting another federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration, to delay issuing a negative report on BPA by disregarding the results of nearly 1,000 reputable scientific studies that have concluded it presents a public health risk. Based on the research, the chemical has been banned in cities and states across the nation yet the government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety refuses to act.
Study after study has determined that BPA causes cell changes that lead to breast and prostate cancer and scientific experts who have thoroughly examined the chemical have written to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg accusing the agency of stalling at the risk of public health.
Now the government agency that’s supposed to protect human health and the environment, the EPA, is failing to do its job to appease the industry it’s supposed to oversee.
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