New Chemical Bill – Thousands Of Years To Test 64,000 Chemicals For Safety

Toxic Substances
Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
June 21, 2016

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which took effect in 1976, allows high-production volume chemicals to be launched without their chemical identity or toxicity information being disclosed.

It also makes it very difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals. For starters, the act only gives the EPA 90 days to determine if a new chemical poses an unreasonable risk prior to it entering the market.

The EPA states they typically don’t get the toxicity data in time to make such determinations, and as such, the EPA has only regulated five chemicals and requested testing for 200 since 1976. There are about 64,000 chemicals in use right now that are not regulated or tested for environmental repercussions.1

An overhaul of the TSCA is desperately needed and has been for decades, making this month’s Senate approval of an update a monumental occasion. Last month, the House approved the update to the TSCA, and it will now be signed into law.

There are some problems with the update, however — especially it’s timeline. As Bloomberg reported:2

“By the time EPA finishes work on the chemicals it has prioritized, the children of today’s children will have been exposed to them — probably for years.”

TSCA Update: Safety Tests Can Take up to 7 Years Per Chemical

There’s no doubt that the EPA should be testing more chemicals for safety, but the TSCA update doesn’t go far enough to protect Americans.

On the bright side, the new agreement would give the EPA authority to require companies to provide safety data for untested chemicals and also prevent chemicals from coming to market if they haven’t been tested for safety.

It also removes the 90-day limit for the EPA to determine chemical risks and, at least on the surface, eliminates a requirement that chemical regulations had to take into account the cost of compliance. Other notable improvements include:3

  • The EPA will be required to determine whether a chemical meets a set safety standard before it enters the market.
  • The EPA must consider a chemical’s effects on particularly vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and children.
  • The EPA must quickly review chemicals known to persist in the environment and build up in humans.
  • Companies will no longer be allowed to keep data secret due to “trade secret” and other confidentiality claims.

The EPA has already identified 90 chemicals as high priority, and such chemicals are supposed to take precedence.

However, the bill’s language was created after close work with the American Chemistry Council in order to ensure it would “win the support of industry.”4 As such, while the bill requires the EPA to begin conducting safety tests on roughly 64,000 chemicals, they only have to test 20 chemicals at a time.

Further, each chemical has a seven-year deadline, such that it will be a very long time before potentially toxic chemicals stop being used. As Bloomberg reported:5

“An analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has criticized the TSCA rewrite as too weak, estimates that EPA needs 28 years to complete risk evaluations on the 90 chemicals in its work plan, 30 years to finalize related regulations on those chemicals, and 35 years to implement the resulting rules.”

States May Lose Ability to Restrict Toxic Chemicals

Congress caved in to industry and allowed a single regulatory system to oversee the industry, and also allowed companies the right to seek a federal waiver from the rules for certain chemicals.

Under the new agreement, states may lose their power to regulate chemicals they deem toxic. In return, language was inserted to allow states to restrict a chemical’s use only if the federal risk review takes more than 3 ½ years. As The Washington Post reported:6

“The EWG’s Scott Faber, the organization’s vice president for government affairs, said the EWG walked away from the bill because it represents ‘only a slight improvement’ on ‘the worst environmental law in the books.'”

Other Glaring Problems With the Chemical Bill Update

The EWG pointed out several other notable failures in the new legislation:

  • State action against chemicals can be suspended for more than three years while the EPA completes its safety review. The EWG reported:7

“States have been the only cops on the chemical safety beat, regulating scores of chemicals and driving marketplace innovation. Any legislation that claims to be better than current law would permit state action until an EPA rule is final.”

  • No adequate funding is required from the chemical industry, which means there’s a good chance the EPA will lack the funding needed to review toxic chemicals already on the market. According to the EWG:8

“To make TSCA better than the status quo, Congress should provide enough funding to review the most dangerous chemicals in a generation — not a century … The compromise only provides about half of what’s needed.”

  • Cost is not fully eliminated from the EPA’s decision-making process, even though it’s purported to have been removed from considerations.

The EWG noted that the bill contains “poison pill provisions that could keep the EPA tied in legal knots” and “negotiators should have at least removed vague requirements that rules be ‘cost-effective.'”

  • The EPA will be able to classify chemicals as “low hazard,” but there is no set definition of what low hazard means. The EWG explained:

“Since the compromise allows the industry to dictate up to half of the chemicals EPA will assess for safety, you can bet a lot of their favorite chemicals will soon be bearing this stamp of approval.”

Many Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Are Unsafe at Any Level

The European Commission is in the process of creating regulations for endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals known to interfere with development and reproduction, and they may cause serious neurological and immune system effects.

The disruptions occur because such chemicals mimic hormones in your body, including the female sex hormone estrogen, the male sex hormone androgen, and thyroid hormones.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may block hormonal signals in your body, or interfere with the way the hormones or receptors are made or controlled.9 Your normal hormone levels may be altered, or the chemicals may change the way such hormones travel through your body.

They’ve been implicated in a host of diseases from cancer and infertility to obesity and diabetes — and they’re found in countless consumer items such as cosmetics, plastics and pesticides.

In 2009, the European Parliament declared that endocrine-disrupting chemicals would not be allowed on the market, and they enlisted the European Commission to determine criteria to identify these chemicals.

The chemical industries then called for an “impact assessment” to be released before the criteria could be released. Environmental Health News explained the repercussions:10

“National health authorities, industry and NGOs are thus in suspended animation awaiting a decision on these criteria for identification — a regulatory tool that will then enable restrictions or, more radically, prohibitions on the use of certain endocrine disruptors.

Today, seven years later, these criteria still do not exist. This impact assessment, with its highly confidential conclusions (as secret as the location of the fountain of youth), is largely responsible for this delay. It was not originally part of the plan, but industry called for it as a way to weaken the regulation.

[This year] Sweden curtly reminded the Commission that the Court ‘prohibits the use of economic considerations to define criteria.’ So what is the nature of the ‘economic considerations’ contained in the pages of the impact study under lock and key?

In addition to the impact on the industry, will they take into account the cost of diseases related to exposure to endocrine disruptors in Europe, which was estimated by independent studies to be at between 157 billion and 288 billion euros per year?”

For Endocrine Disruptors, Low Doses May Be More Toxic

It’s unknown whether the European Commission or the EPA will take into account the fact that sometimes, low doses of chemicals have the potential for great harm.

Many studies assume a linear dose-response relationship for the chemical and any given effect. That is, they assume that if a chemical causes organ damage at 200 parts per million (ppm), it will cause greater damage at higher exposures and less damage at lower levels.

This is a dangerous assumption, because for many toxins, including some endocrine-disrupting chemicals, harm is exerted even at very small doses. Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., a geneticist at Washington State University, explained that endocrine disruptors like bisphenol A (BPA), which act like hormones, “don’t play by the rules.”

Even low-level exposure — levels to which people are currently being exposed — may be enough to damage developing eggs and sperm, for instance. In one of Hunt’s studies, researchers found disruptions to egg development after rhesus monkeys, which have human-like reproductive systems, were exposed to either single, daily doses of BPA or low-level continuous doses.11

Your Body Is Not a Toxin Dumping Ground

It’s virtually impossible to avoid all of the toxic chemicals in your environment, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit silently by while corporations use your home, your water, your air and your body as a convenient toxin dumping ground. Until change occurs on a global scale, you can significantly limit your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.

  • Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals, both in the food itself and the packaging. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown.
  • Choose pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
  • Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and at little risk of contamination, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines.
  • Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.
  • Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
  • Use glass baby bottles.
  • Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
  • Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin readily absorbs contaminants. Most tap water toxins, including fluoride, can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
  • Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame-retardant chemicals.
  • When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses or carpet padding, consider buying chemical-free varieties containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar.
  • Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
  • Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
  • Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
  • Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. The EWG’s Skin Deep database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.12
  • Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or use glass doors.
  • Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
  • Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

    Read More At: Mercola.com

Hundreds Of Cancer-Causing Chemicals Detected In American’s Blood, Urine & Hair, Says Environmental Watchdog Group

Cancer chemicals
Source: NaturalNews.com
Jonathan Benson
June 22, 2016

Concerns about the human health effects of perpetual exposure to environmental toxins often get dismissed or ignored by health authorities on the grounds that such chemicals don’t stick around inside the body long enough to cause problems. But a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) – the first of its kind – suggests quite the opposite, and could help explain why rates of cancer and other chronic diseases continue to skyrocket in the developed world.

Researchers from the respected environmental watchdog group spent upwards of a year poring through data compiled from more than 1,000 biomonitoring studies, as well as other research published by leading government agencies and independent scientists, and came to some shocking conclusions. They found that as many as 420 unique chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, are now being detected in human blood, urine, hair and other tissue samples, demonstrating not only that carcinogens are everywhere, but that they’re also permeating our bodies at an alarming rate.

The bulk of existing cancer research focuses almost exclusively on tobacco, alcohol and sun exposure as the alleged primary causes of cancer, at the exclusion of the literally thousands of chemicals that have been scientifically shown to cause cancer. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that 20 percent of cancers – or one in five cases – are a result of chemical and/or environmental exposure, not cigarettes, booze and ultraviolet rays.

Reinforcing other ongoing research of a similar nature, like that of the Halifax Project – a collaboration of more than 300 scientists from around the world who are investigating the cancer-causing effects of common chemicals – the new EWG findings are sure to raise some eyebrows within the realm of public health. At the very least, what this research shows is that not nearly enough investigation has taken place with regard to chemical safety, and that the general public faces unknown risks from this lack of proper scrutiny.

“The presence of a toxic chemical in our bodies does not necessarily mean it will cause harm, but this report details the astounding number of carcinogens we are exposed to in almost every part of life that are building up in our systems,” stated Curt DellaValle, author of the report and a senior scientist at EWG.

“At any given time some people may harbor dozens or hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals. This troubling truth underscores the need for greater awareness of our everyday exposure to chemicals and how to avoid them.”

Compounded toxicity, an often overlooked aspect of carcinogenic exposure

Another issue addressed by the report is the lack of safety research on chemicals in combination with one another. The combined toxicity of multiple chemicals in tandem – a common occurrence in many consumer products – is a major unknown when it comes to long-term health effects, especially in developing unborn children still inside their mothers’ wombs.

“Many of the carcinogens this study documents in people find their way into our bodies through food, air, water and consumer products every day. Dozens of them show up in human umbilical cord blood—which means Americans are exposed to carcinogens before they’ve left the womb,” says EWG president, Ken Cook.

“We should focus on preventing cancer by preventing human exposure to these chemicals.”

As we’ve reported in the past, the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in its current form lacks the necessary regulatory teeth required to accurately assess the safety of chemicals, especially the effects of combined chemical exposure. As it stands, thousands of chemicals have been “grandfathered” into use without having been properly safety tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a direct result of TSCA’s failed guidelines.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com