It was a busy week for toxic chemical reform, most notably due to the report to the President on chemicals and cancer, some lively rubber duck rallies in Texas, and Mother’s Day.
President’s cancer report garners national media attention
The President’s report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now (PDF), received quite a bit of media attention, most of it focusing on its no-nonsense assertion that the U.S. faces "grievous harm” from toxic chemicals and that we need a new national strategy to reduce the danger these chemicals pose to our health. (To find out more about proposed national strategy, read our new fact sheet on the current proposals before Congress here.)
NRDC’s Sarah Jannsen was quoted in several stories saying: /“It’s official: we can’t win the war on cancer until we get serious about chemicals.”/
In an unexpected development, the American Cancer Society criticized the report for drawing attention away from more common causes of cancer, such as tobacco use.
Here are links to some of the stories:
May 5, 2010 New York Times: New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer
May 7, 2010 Washington Post: U.S. facing 'grievous harm' from chemicals in air, food, water, panel says
May 10, 2010 San Francisco Chronicle: Do chemicals cause cancer?
May 6, 2010 CBS News: Underestimated Cancer Risks
May 5, 2010 Los Angeles Times: Cancer risk of chemicals in the environment uncertain
May 11, 2010 Huffington Post: Making the World Safe for Cancer
Chemical industry supporters take a bold pro-nuke stand
More predictably, the report inspired a bit of backlash from pro-industry spokespeople like Dr. Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health. She’s quoted in ACSH’s newsletter trashing the report because it warns people about microwaving plastic food containers! “What makes the report even more insidious is that imaginary dangers like using plastic food containers are mixed together with actual risk factors like smoking and excess UV radiation.”
Hard to ignore the 20-foot duck in the room
The 20-foot Safe Chemicals Now rubber ducky landed in Texas last Friday, inspiring pro-TSCA reform rallies in San Antonio and Houston. The Houston Press covered the rally, quoting Matthew Tejada, of the Air Alliance of Houston, making an astute political point:
Tejada said he hopes U.S. Congressman from Houston, Democrat Gene Green, whose district is full of chemical manufacturing plants, will support the proposed reforms.
“His district has the lowest percentage of people without health care coverage in the country,” said Tejada, “so we believe he and his district have the most to gain by safer products.”
Mother’s Day inspiration
Last of all, Mother’s Day. There’s no disputing that millions of mothers share the President’s Cancer Panel’s concern about toxic chemicals. More than 80 mother appreciative supporters sent in pictures to our Mother-inspired “I want to be toxic free” photo collage.