They added a sneaky clause to pending chemical safety legislation. Action Alert!
Last year, we told you about a chemical safety bill—one drafted by the chemical industry, and one that will do little to protect consumers from the estimated 84,000 chemicals registered for use in the US. That bill, sponsored by Sens. Mark Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA), passed the Senate unanimously late last year and now must be reconciled with House-passed legislation from earlier in 2015.
While the Vitter-Udall bill contained some positive provisions, ANH-USA supported legislation from Sens. Boxer (D-CA) and Markey (D-MA) that did not preempt state action against hazardous chemicals and required immediate actions against chemicals that accumulate in the body.
Of special concern is a late addition to the House-passed chemical safety reform bill that protects Monsanto from legal liability for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The added language, referencing federal law concerning PCBs, would enable much-sued Monsanto to get cases dismissed.
PCBs were used for decades in all types of products for their ability to prevent fires and explosions. As use of PCBs increased throughout the 20th century, mounting evidence indicated that the chemical caused environmental contamination and severe health issues like cancer and immune problems. The Environmental Protection Agency banned PCBs in 1979.
The language added to the House bill doesn’t mention Monsanto by name. It is supposed to be a sneak amendment. But there is no doubt it is Monsanto relief legislation. The company—one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill—produced almost all of the 1.25 billion pounds of PCBs sold in the US between the 1930s and 1977.
It would be a great injustice if this provision is allowed to remain in the final legislation. Local communities and school systems are struggling to this day to reduce PCB levels in sewer systems and building materials at great cost. Other groups of individuals with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are suing Monsanto for damages. Congress should not shield Monsanto from its responsibility clean up the mess it helped create.
Action Alert! Write to your legislators and urge them to remove the “Monsanto clause” from chemical safety legislation. Please send your message immediately.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: