Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Protect the American people from dangerous chemicals.
PFAS has been called the “poster child for everything that’s wrong with chemical regulation in America.” Warnings about PFAS go back 50 years even though most people have never heard of PFAS. Most people are also unaware that these proven carcinogens are used in fast food wrappers, nonstick frying pans, firefighting foam, waterproof clothing and thousands of other products, including many where their presence isn’t even labeled. Warnings of health problems with PFAS are becoming increasingly dire and are associated with testicular and kidney cancer as well as other diseases. What’s even worse is that PFAS is practically indestructible and will remain in our blood and in our environment, even if the production were stopped tomorrow.
There are 80,000 chemicals sold in the United States and most have never been tested for their effect on human health. Currently, weakened bills in Congress only allow for testing five chemicals per year while in Europe and Canada, hundreds of chemicals used regularly in the United States are subject to restrictions because they’re considered unsafe. It’s possible only lost sales can motivate a real change in policy, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with that.
Over the last three years alone, the chemical industry has spent almost $200 million on lobbying fees when it could have spent that money producing safer products. In that regard, the chemical industry closely resembles the tobacco industry when it wasted time and resources fighting warning labels about a product proven to kill its fans.
It’s unacceptable that we cannot trust our products to be safe from dangerous chemicals. When we establish that certain chemicals are directly connected with causing cancer or other fatal illnesses, they should be automatically and immediately banned.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
We refuse to accept a system that does not protect our health from dangerous chemicals while Europe and Canada restrict the use of hundreds of chemicals used regularly in the United States. The poster child for what’s wrong with our system is PFAS. After spending years successfully fighting the dangers of cancer-causing chemical flame retardants, PFAS, which is also used in this regard, presents even bigger problems and greater danger. Warnings about PFAS go back half a century and yet, its use is extremely common; fast food wrappers, nonstick frying pans, firefighting foam, waterproof clothing and thousands of other products, some unlabeled. All this even as PFAS is directly linked to testicular and kidney cancer as well as under active thyroids and ulcerative colitis. These chemicals are almost indestructible and will remain in our environment long after they are banned.
There are 80,000 chemicals sold in the United States and few people realize most of these have never been tested for their effect on human health. Consumers are forced to be guinea pigs for testing the comparative dangers of chemicals already banned overseas which is outrageous. When chemicals are proven to be dangerous, their use should be automatically and immediately banned.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Denbennick