Monthly Archives: April 2010

A minimum data set: Why, what, how much and when?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

As I noted in my last post, EDF and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition believe TSCA needs to ensure that basic safety data are developed and made available for all chemicals in commerce.  Such information is:

  • a core element of the public’s right-to-know;
  • embodied in the “no data, no market” concept already in place under the EU’s REACH; and
  • most importantly, critical for identifying BOTH:
    •  chemicals of concern we have not yet identified, due to data gaps; and
    • chemicals  presenting little or no concern, which may serve as safer alternatives to chemicals of concern but we need to be able to identify with greater confidence.

The chemical industry’s opposition to comprehensive data requirements is an inherent contradiction:  It is often the first to claim “regrettable substitution” when a chemical is restricted, asking: “How do we know the substitute is any better?”  The answer is we often won’t – UNLESS we take a comprehensive approach to data development

So what types of data, and how much, should comprise a minimum safety data set?  And when should it be submitted? Read More »

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A minimum data set: Who needs it?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Sound chemicals management and control demands sound information.  The Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition believes information sufficient to determine a chemical’s safety needs to be provided for all chemicals, as a condition for them to enter (for new chemicals) or remain (for existing chemicals) on the market.

Needed chemical information is not limited to test data, and even for types of data that can be derived from testing, alternative sources and approaches may be appropriately used.  Given the large number of chemicals for which information is needed, the availability of various sources of information, and the desirability of minimizing cost and use of laboratory animals, all reasonable efforts should be made to use existing information and data derived from the use of validated alternative methods – as long as the information they provide is current and scientifically reliable.

But who needs such information? Read More »

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Not just kids' play any more: TSCA reform gets serious

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Today, at long last, legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) hit the streets.  A bill, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, was introduced by Senator Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate.  And just to keep things interesting and all of us on our toes, Congressmen Rush and Waxman today released the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 that is similar but not identical and is in the form of a discussion draft, rather than a bill.

It’s been a long road to get here, but of course this is only the end of the beginning.

EDF and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition support the new legislative language and believe it includes most of the elements needed to move our outdated and broken chemical safety system into the 21st century.  We also will be seeking improvements in several areas as the bill moves forward.

For our coalition's initial perspective on the positive aspects as well as some of the shortcomings of the legislative proposals, see the news release we issued today.  We will also soon be posting an analysis that aligns the bill’s and discussion draft’s provisions with the planks of our platform, and I’ll provide an update with a link here. Read More »

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Are we ready to get sensible about triclosan use?

Cal Baier-AndersonCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is acknowledging that new research raises "valid concerns" about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical that can be found in dozens of consumer products as diverse as soaps, personal care products, cutting boards, plastic sandals and even bath towels.

Originally developed as a surgical scrub for use by doctors and nurses, the burgeoning uses of this pesticidal chemical have hugely expanded human and environmental exposures.  With little evidence of any actual public health benefits from such uses, FDA along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should move quickly to limit triclosan use.  Only those uses that have a demonstrable public health benefit, when weighed against potential health and environmental risks, should be allowed. Read More »

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Congrats to the Coalition for Chemical Safety on its silver medal

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Congratulations are in order for a prize awarded today to the Coalition for Chemical Safety (CCS), about which I have blogged frequently over the last several months.  As reported today on the front page of the Huffington Post, CCS received second place in the coveted "Best Pranks of 2010" contest.  Quite an honor for such a new kid on the block.

The contest was judged by those intrepid faux captains of industry, the Yes Men, who know a good PR ruse when they see one.  And while this contest was an April Fool's Day special, the subterfuge continues daily at CCS' website.

Posted in Health Policy, Industry Influence / Tagged | Comments are closed

Blown away: EDF investigation of asbestos in hair dryers

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

On March 30, the Washington Post ran the following story:
[Clarification added 4/2/10:  I have now learned that the text below is actually a summary of two Post articles, which ran in Environment magazine (April 1979, p. 21).  Click these links for previews of the 3/29/79 and 3/30/79 Post articles, available for purchase from its archives.  Apologies for the incorrect information.]

Reporters from WRC-TV, the NBC Station in Washington, D. C., spent nine months investigating asbestos-lined hair dryers after the Consumer Product Safety Commission declined to do so.  The station, in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund, conducted an investigation which culminated in an uninterrupted 15-minute news segment detailing the results of their findings.  Read More »

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