New Report Looks at Links Between Diseases, Chemicals

A new report out today provides new information about the connections between commonly-used chemicals and the prevalence of diseases. Groups that advocate for safer chemicals are using the data to lobby for updates to federal legislation.

The report looks at the chemicals connected to diseases like cancer, autism and learning disabilities. These problems are occurring more frequently, and Kentucky Environmental Foundation director Elizabeth Crowe says there are huge loopholes in the current law that place lives at risk.

“What this law does is just allow business as usual,” she said. “It allows chemicals to go right from the laboratory to the store shelf without any rigorous testing.”

Monica Unseld is a biologist in Bardstown. She says the federal government needs to enhance the Toxic Substances Control Act, which hasn’t been updated since 1976.

“If it were Tylenol or Cialis or any other pharmaceutical they have to test it,” she said. “But if it’s pesticides on our food, if it’s dyes they put in our food or flame retardants in our products, they can go straight to market.”

Groups lobbying for safer chemicals have been championing a bill by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg that updates the 1976 legislation. The bill was introduced last year, but hasn’t yet passed out of the Senate.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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