chemical

Chemistry Council trying to lobby Washington to cut off funding for research on carcinogens

Sunday, October 28, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Chemistry Council, lobbying, carcinogens

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(NaturalNews) Every two years, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which operates under the banner of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), releases a congressionally-mandated report entitled the "Report on Carcinogens" (RoC) that identifies various agents, substances, mixtures, or exposures that are known to cause cancer. But the American Chemical Society (ACS), which represents many of the biggest names in the cancer-causing chemical industry, is currently trying to lobby Congress to stop the publishing of this important document.

Because the latest RoC lists formaldehyde, a chemical commonly used in both consumer and industrial products, as a definitive cause of cancer, and styrene, another common household chemical, as a suspected carcinogen, the chemical industry is up in arms about its potential profit losses. So in the spirit of Big Tobacco's approach to dealing with inconvenient science, the chemical industry is now desperately trying to muddle the scientific process by paying off Congress to not only withhold the truth about these and other deadly chemicals, but also to prevent the public from accessing this information by blocking funding for future publishings of the RoC.

"The way the free market is supposed to work is that you have information," Lynn Goldman, Dean of the School of Public Health at George Washington University (GWU), is quoted as saying by the New York Times (NYT) about the importance of the RoC report. "They're (the chemical companies) trying to squelch that information."

Similar stall tactics were used by the chemical industry back in the 1930s when the safety of asbestos was first called into question. Just like today, industry lobbyists at that time denied all the emerging science about the serious dangers of asbestos, insisting that it was all "ill-informed and exaggerated" bunk, according to the NYT. The chemical was eventually exposed and banned in the 1980s, of course, but by this point, millions of people had already been needlessly exposed to asbestos, with roughly 10,000 of them now die every year as a result of asbestos-related disease.

"The industrial chemical formaldehyde and a botanical known as aristolochic acids are listed as known human carcinogens," says a National Institutes of Health (NIH) announcement about the eight new substances added to the 2011 RoC, which the chemical industry is trying to keep under wraps. "Six other substances -- captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine, and styrene -- are added as substances that are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2011/june10/)

You can read the full 2011 RoC here:
http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=03C9AF75-E1BF-FF40-DBA9EC0928DF8B15

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nytimes.com

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