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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/6/13

Chemical Industry Protection Act

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Message John Jonik

(Article changed on June 7, 2013 at 17:03)

(Article changed on June 6, 2013 at 21:48)

From Biological Basis for risk assessment of dioxins
Biological Basis for risk assessment of dioxins by earthlightbooks

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA), as co-sponsored by Senator Lautenberg (D/NJ) and Senator Vitter (R/LA) recently, grants the EPA the authority to create a regulatory framework within which to collect data on chemicals in order to evaluate and control risks that may be created through manufacturing, processing and even usage. The 127 pages of The Chemical Safety Improvement Act can be seen here:

 A Washington Post article said that this Act would end a 25 year gridlock about how to "...regulate the tens of thousands of chemicals in everything from crib mattresses to water bottles."

 But the law says nothing about cribs, bottles, any manufactured products or anything about foods or tobacco (5th most pesticide-intensive crop).  It does not mention pesticides at all, or even chemical drift.  Words about plastics, synthetics, dioxin, chlorine and other hazardous industrial chemicals are missing.  The Act makes no clear distinction between natural chemicals and industrial chemicals.  It's all just "chemicals" in legislative chambers and  mainstream media...much as plain tobacco and industrially-contaminated tobacco, and even fake tobacco, is all just "tobacco".  To qualify the terms for the sake of accuracy and understanding would just "confuse the public", as they say.  Natural chemicals do not play in corporate liability or prosecution matters, but industrial chemicals do.  One cannot sue or arrest Mother Nature.

 The Act avoids mention of the form of exposure, thus ignoring for instance, how inhalation of  pesticide residues and dioxins (as in smoke from typical cigarettes) is the worst possible path because of the efficiency of the lungs.  And, of course, exposure via food is worse than topical exposure.

 CSIA provides penalties (fines, jail), plus firing, for any whistle blowers in govt OR with govt contractors who disclose 'confidential' information about corporate chemicals.  No leaks of sunshine here.

On the other hand, nothing is said about penalties on corporations or CEOs for endangering or harming people, wildlife, or our environment.

 This Act will allow doctors and nurses to learn about a chemical if they can make the case that it's part of a patient's diagnosis or treatment, but there's a gag rule on them.   It's like the gag on doctors who cannot reveal trade secret industrial chemicals in fracking cases.  How can a patient, or his-her attorney, know what industrial chemical interest to sue if that chemical isn't revealed?   But isn't that the real point of the gag rules?

 CSIA seems to overturn the insane 2004 US cancellation of Customs-Department of Agriculture checking import tobacco for dangerous or illegal pesticides, but that's not stated specifically.

 This Act lets the manufacturers test their own chemicals.  (And burglars should be allowed to investigate their own break-ins.)

 This Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 lets chemical firms keep their customer list secret, along with the nature of those customers (such as agriculture businesses, food processors, tobacco and cotton industry, etc.), and the names of chemicals.  Customers can keep their suppliers secret.  The Dows and DuPonts, et al, are very modest about publicizing the extent of their business.   More whistle blowers are needed.

 Though the USA signed the POP's (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Treaty some years ago, thus agreeing to globally outlaw 12 industrial chemicals including dioxins (and by connection, most chlorine technologies), the treaty has yet to be ratified in the US.  Scarce few US activist groups even ask for that and they fail to  explain this gross inaction.

 The thing is, the USA acknowledged that dioxin is so carcinogenic and otherwise deadly as to be worthy of total removal from the planet, but dioxin isn't even noted in the Act.

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Long time activist in areas relating to industrial toxics, media content and control, death penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, hemp prohibition, civil rights, insurance influence in public governing, religious influence in public governing, unsafe foods, (more...)
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