EDF Health

Selected tag(s): carcinogen

No authorization, no market: REACH identifies first six chemicals to be phased out except for explicitly authorized uses

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.  Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

The European Commission today identified the first six chemicals to be made subject to authorization under the European Union’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, or REACH.

The long road to today’s decision began in October 2008, when the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identified these chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and placed them on its Candidate List for chemicals potentially to be subject to authorization. Under REACH, a chemical qualifies as a SVHC as a result of being:  (1) carcinogenic, mutagenic, or a reproductive toxicant (CMR), (2) being persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT), (3) being very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB), or (4) being found to “give rise to an equivalent level of concern.”  Clearly these are the types of chemicals we want to pay attention to!

Today’s formal addition of these chemicals to REACH’s Annex XIV serves to notify manufacturers and importers that they must apply for, and obtain, authorization for specific uses of these chemicals if they want to continue using them beyond their designated sunset dates in 2014 and 2015.  It is of note that this rule applies to the chemicals in question regardless of their production volumes.   Read More »

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Yes, Virginia (and all 49 other states), chemicals do cause cancer

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

Please help me welcome to the true mainstream of scientific and medical thought the seemingly radical yet commonsense notion that chemical exposures are a significant contributor to cancer, many types of which are rising in incidence even as overall rates decline.

This morning, the President’s Cancer Panel released its 2010 report [available here].  The report is remarkable not so much for its core finding that chemical exposures are a major factor in human cancer, but rather because of its source — an authoritative and bipartisan body — and because of the strong linkages it makes to our failed chemicals policies.

Read More »

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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 »

Posted in Health Science, Regulation, TSCA Reform / Also tagged | Read 3 Responses

The Katrina chronicles: Formaldehyde-laced trailers set to claim another set of victims

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

The Washington Post ran a front-page article Saturday, written by Spencer Hsu, which reported the auction sale by FEMA of most of the 120,000 notorious formaldehyde-tainted trailers it had purchased five years ago to house the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The article cites FEMA as saying that “wholesale buyers from the auction must sign contracts attesting that trailers will not be used, sold or advertised as housing, and that trailers will carry a sticker saying, ‘Not to be used for housing’.”

Think that’s likely to be enough?  Read More »

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Toxic Chemicals in Consumer Products: More than Just Consumer Exposure

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

An article recently published in the journal Macromolecules reports on the development of a new process that the authors claim can prevent the migration of phthalates from PVC plastic.   This “breakthrough” will undoubtedly be used to argue that industry should be allowed to continue to use a retinue of toxic chemicals in the manufacture of PVC destined for use in a broad variety of applications.

Concern for consumer exposures is often the main argument made against the use of toxic chemicals in consumer applications.  With evidence of exposure to chemicals like phthalates in nearly everyone who has been tested, including pregnant women, this is understandable.

But even if the new claims are proven to be true, there are many other reasons we need to find safer substitutes for such chemicals: worker exposures, environmental releases and end-of-life recycling and disposal issues, to name a few.  The potential impacts from continued use of toxic chemicals must be examined across their entire lifecycle. Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science / Also tagged , , | Read 2 Responses

Connecting the dots: New report makes the health case for TSCA reform

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

The Safer Chemicals Healthy Families campaign, of which EDF is a founding member, is releasing an important report today:  “The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act.”  This report connects the growing number of dots linking chemical exposures to a number of serious chronic diseases that are rising in incidence.  These include certain types of cancer, including childhood cancers; learning and developmental disabilities; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease; reproductive health and fertility problems in both women and men; and asthma.

The report provides a succinct review of the state of the science in each of these areas, and argues that the U.S. has an opportunity to help ameliorate both the rise in these chronic diseases and their associated health care costs — by enacting comprehensive reform of our nation’s policies addressing the safety of chemicals.

Check out the report and news release.

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