It is a known fact that bisphenol A, styrene, C8, and asbestos are dangerous chemicals, both for the environment and human health. However, the use of these compounds was never really limited because of an old chemicals law. Great strides have been made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, as they now have more power to regulate a range of carcinogenic substances. This came after President Obama finally reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
“Here in America, folks should have the confidence to know that the laundry detergent we buy isn’t going to make us sick, that the mattresses our babies sleep on aren’t going to harm them.”
It has taken a decade of disputes and debates among legislators, public health advocates, and industry groups, to finally agree on the chemical safety reforms. The EPA now has far greater authority, and they have more power to investigate chemicals in household chemicals, clothing, toys, furniture, and various other products that are regularly used by everyday households. Before this bill, the EPA was only able to ban five chemicals, out of some 80,000 that are currently used in this country. Additionally, they were only able to test 7% of high volume chemicals, of which there are around 3,000, for safety. Thanks to the new bill, these numbers should significantly improve.
“This reform bill is a clear improvement over the current law, modernizing the decades-old system regulating chemicals. It addresses fundamental flaws that have hindered the EPA’s ability to protect human health and the environment from chemical risks. Alaskans deserve greater confidence regarding the safety of chemicals used in homes and businesses, and this bill gives them that. I’m pleased that we were successful in enhancing the bill based on concerns we heard directly from Alaskans.”
A Focus on Asbestos
Every year, some 15,000 people in this country die as a result of direct or indirect asbestos exposure. Yet, the burden of scientific proof placed on the EPA was so high, that they were unable to pass the legal benchmark under the old regulations. Asbestos, a highly toxic mineral that was once hailed as the ‘miracle mineral’ and used in various construction materials including flooring, fireproof drywall, ceiling insulating, and concrete, has been determined to be able to cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, to name but a few. This happens only when the asbestos is disturbed and the particles become airborne.
During the 1970s and 1980s, EPA worked very hard at developing new rules in an attempt to eliminate the use of asbestos. For this, they cited Section 6 of the Chemicals Law. However, these regulations were dismissed by a court of law, stating that EPA was unable to prove asbestos’ unreasonable risk to environment or health. Over the past 25 years, the EPA has not even attempted to ban any other harmful chemical.
EPA spent the 1970s and 1980s developing rules that would have eliminated most uses of the asbestos under Section 6 of the chemicals law. But a federal court dismissed the regulations, arguing the EPA had not proved asbestos presented an unreasonable risk to health or environment. The agency hasn’t attempted to ban a single harmful chemical in the 25 years since as a direct result of this verdict.
“During the first Bush Administration, EPA tried to ban asbestos under TSCA, but the rule was overturned in court. In the law’s 40-year history, only a handful of the tens of thousands of chemicals on the market when the law passed have ever been reviewed for health impacts, and only 5 have ever been banned.”
A Focus on Noxious Cookware
Having been defeated on asbestos, EPA then turned its attention to C8, a synthetic polymer found in DuPont’s Teflon cookware. Today, it is used in hundreds of different nonstick pans and pots. The nonstick coating allows for easier cooking of quesadillas or eggs, but it is also associated with many serious health problems.
During 2011 and 2012, C8 was extensively researched. A panel found that the substance was ‘more likely than not’ related to a number of conditions, all widespread in the body, and that this danger existed even at very low levels.
“There is a Probable Link between C8 (PFOA) and ulcerative colitis and thyroid disease.”
Additionally, the probably link now exists for kidney cancer, testicular cancer, pregnancy induced hypertension, and high cholesterol.
C8 and compounds like it are found in waterways and cookware, particularly those made by DuPont. In fact, DuPont dumped the compound in the waterways for many years. As a result, some 99.7% of people in this country are believed to have C8 in their bloodstream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its report in 2007.
Despite this, however, the EPA was not able to ban C8 levitra prices. They did manage to come to an agreement with various chemical companies, DuPont included, in an effort to ban it from consumer products. This was a great breakthrough, but not enough. Hopefully, the new reform will improve that situation.