Nearly 17,000 chemicals remain corporate secrets even the EPA doesn't know what they are

Thursday, February 04, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: toxic chemicals, EPA, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires that manufacturers of products containing potentially toxic chemicals disclose their ingredients to the federal government, however a loophole in the requirement allows manufacturers to arbitrarily withhold information that they deem sensitive to their business. As a result, over 17,000 product chemicals remain secret not only from the public but from government officials.

Each year, over 700 new chemicals are introduced by manufacturers, many of which do not get disclosed either to the public or to government agencies. About 95 percent of new chemical notices submitted to the government request some kind of secrecy. Critics allege that manufacturers are exploiting the original intent of TSCA, abusing it to hide sensitive information about ingredients that are likely toxic and may otherwise get banned.

For the first time in many years, Congress is addressing the issue of disclosure abuse with promises of reforming the regulatory provisions. Consumer and environmental groups, in conjunction with many government officials, are demanding that all ingredient information be made public with no exceptions.

Mike Walls, vice president of the American Chemistry Council, argues otherwise, insisting that public disclosure would reveal confidential information that could benefit competitors and hurt business. He believes that even the names and addresses of manufacturers should not have to be made public because competitors may trace the information and somehow figure out secret recipes.

According to EPA records, more than half of the 65 "substantial risk" reports submitted to agency last March involved secret chemicals. Of these, 151 of them are produced in quantities over one million tons a year and ten of them are used primarily in children's products.

Last year, a Colorado chemical spill nearly cost a nurse her life after she treated a man who had been exposed to the spill. Following his recovery, nurse Cathy Behr fell seriously ill herself, her lungs filling up with fluid and her liver on the verge of failing. Concerned doctors traced the contamination back to a product called ZetaFlow, produced by Weatherford International. After requesting information Weatherford provided some material but utilized ZetaFlow's confidential status to withhold the secret ingredients.

To this day, Behr does not know exactly what triggered her near death. She would like to see a list of all the chemicals contained in ZetaFlow. She also believes that the ingredients in all chemical products should be made public information to ensure safety. She continues to suffer from respiratory problems due to the unknown chemicals.

Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, first arrived in his position back in July and within a week ended confidentiality protection for 530 chemicals. In each of these cases, manufacturers had obtained secrecy for ingredients that were otherwise publicly available on the manufacturers' websites and in trade journals.

Lynn Goldman, a former EPA official who now works as a pediatrician and epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explained that the few EPA officials who are in the know about secret chemicals do not have enough information to properly assess risk by themselves and are legally bound not to share the information with anyone else. Officials who could otherwise help are unable to do so because they are not privy to the secret ingredients. Thus the entire system is unable to operate properly due to secrecy.

When specific chemicals are banned for safety reasons, manufacturers often change them slightly and begin using them again as secret ingredients. Heather Stapleton, a Duke University chemist, saw a case like this while researching flame retardants. She labored for months to identify a chemical found in dust samples taken from homes in Boston but was unable to figure it out. While at a conference, she came to realize from a diagram that the mystery chemical was a slightly varied version of another that had been banned for causing reproductive and other damage.

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) believes there are thousands of chemicals currently being used that are potentially toxic and people do not even realize they are there. He questions how a regulatory agency like the EPA can even do its job when a great many of the chemicals it is supposed to be regulating are being withheld from the agency and the public.

Federal officials are working towards establishing regulations that would require manufacturers to provide evidence and reasoning why a chemical must remain secret. Under their proposal, the burden of proof would be on manufacturers to establish proof that disclosure would harm business. The EPA would then have 90 days to appeal the claim and prove otherwise if it believed necessary.

Others are not buying this idea, insisting that if public health is to be regarded then no chemical should remain a secret.

Sources for this story include:

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.