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Chemical Industry Lies Like Tobacco

The Charade is Over: Tribune Series Reveals Chemical Industry Lies Like Tobacco

Congress, White House Must Enact Reforms to Protect Public Health

This week’s Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals revealed deeply disturbing practices at the heart of the chemical industry. The series chronicles flat-out lies by chemical industry witnesses before state legislatures and deliberate misrepresentation of science, all in service of a successful campaign to avoid government and public oversight.

Today’s story focuses on the ongoing policy failures that allow these deceptive practices to continue unchecked, especially the Toxic Substances Control Act. It also chronicles how the industry has not only blocked reform of the Act in Congress, but has successfully influenced the White House to block the limited reforms that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has attempted.

In response to the series, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Campaign Director Andy Igrejas released the following statement:

“The Tribune series has documented a level of deception in the chemical industry that would make a tobacco lobbyist blush.  The fabrications, front groups, deliberate distortions of science, and political bullying it documents have been sustained over years and across the country. The companies it implicates are not on the periphery of the industry, but in its mainstream, playing major roles in the American Chemistry Council. Until this year, Albemarle’s CEO even chaired the ACC board committee that set strategy for federal policy on chemical safety.

Our current chemical safety policy amounts to an honor system and it’s now perfectly clear that too many of these companies simply have no honor.  It is past time for Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act by Senator Lautenberg, which addresses every major failure of current policy.

It is also past time for the White House to stop blocking the more limited reforms that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed under existing authority.  Her efforts are restrained by the limits of current law, nevertheless, they have all been sensible moves toward greater scrutiny of the chemicals that end up in our homes and too often in our bodies. Her most recent proposal would reveal health and safety information that has been kept secret under an abuse of the current law. The White House should approve it without delay so that the public can better evaluate the dangers from chemicals even as we wait for broader reform.”

Click here to read a blog on first hand accounts of industry deception.

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Stephanie Stohler, [email protected]

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