We're behind the Europeans in this, because before the 1976 law, which I've been mentioning lately, Jimmy Carter was trying to put through these new European-style regulations but was blocked by laissez faire monopolists. It was the end of fast-tracking environmentalism. We were way ahead in environmentalism, but stupid people who ended up coming to the fore under Ronald Reagan, did exactly the wrong things. It was stupid and shortsighted. It was brought forth by the selfish, greedy ones who care more about their short-term profits than long-term costs to the whole planet and the whole of humanity, including their own offspring.
It's too bad that governments must regulate coercively rather than having companies such as Dow and Monsanto just act responsibly and under the Golden Rule that is that we ought to do unto others as we ought to want others to do unto us (harmlessness).
Chemical Law Has Global Impact
E.U.'s New Rules Forcing Changes By U.S. Firms
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 12, 2008; A01
Europe this month rolled out new restrictions on makers of chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, changes that are forcing U.S. industries to find new ways to produce a wide range of everyday products.
The new laws in the European Union require companies to demonstrate that a chemical is safe before it enters commerce — the opposite of policies in the United States, where regulators must prove that a chemical is harmful before it can be restricted or removed from the market.
...American manufacturers are already searching for safer alternatives to chemicals used to make thousands of consumer goods, from bike helmets to shower curtains.
The European Union's tough stance on chemical regulation is the latest area in which the Europeans are reshaping business practices with demands that American companies either comply or lose access to a market of 27 countries and nearly 500 million people.
From its crackdown on antitrust practices in the computer industry to its rigorous protection of consumer privacy, the European Union has adopted a regulatory philosophy that emphasizes the consumer. Its approach to managing chemical risks, which started with a trickle of individual bans and has swelled into a wave, is part of a European focus on caution when it comes to health and the environment.
"This is going to compel companies to be more responsible for their products than they have ever been," said Daryl Ditz, senior policy adviser at the Center for International Environmental Law. "They'll have to know more about the chemicals they make, what their products are and where they go."
The laws also call for the European Union to create a list of "substances of very high concern" — those suspected of causing cancer or other health problems. Any manufacturer wishing to produce or sell a chemical on that list must receive authorization.
In the United States, laws in place for three decades have made banning or restricting chemicals extremely difficult. The nation's chemical policy, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, grandfathered in about 62,000 chemicals then in commercial use. Chemicals developed after the law's passage did not have to be tested for safety. Instead, companies were asked to report toxicity information to the government, which would decide if additional tests were needed.
In more than 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has required additional studies for about 200 chemicals, a fraction of the 80,000 chemicals that are part of the U.S. market. The government has had little or no information about the health hazards or risks of most of those chemicals.
The EPA has banned only five chemicals since 1976.
The changes in Europe follow eight years of vigorous opposition from the U.S. chemical industry and the Bush administration. Four U.S. agencies — the EPA, the Commerce Department, the State Department and the Office of the Trade Representative — argued that the system would burden manufacturers and offer little public benefit.
DuPont expects to spend "tens of millions" of dollars to register about 500 chemicals with the European Union, Fisher said. About 20 to 30 are expected to make the list of "substances of very high concern."
One such chemical is likely to be perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used to make Teflon and other substances used in food packaging, carpet, clothing and electrical equipment. A suspected carcinogen, it accumulates in the environment and in human tissue.
DuPont reached a $16.5 million settlement with the EPA in 2005 on charges that it illegally withheld information about health risks posed by PFOA and about water pollution near a West Virginia plant. Dupont and other companies have agreed to cease production by 2015.
Linking the word "concern" to a chemical is enough to trigger a market reaction. Earlier this year, when government officials in Canada and the United States said they worried about health effects possibly caused by bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in plastics, major retailers pulled from their shelves baby bottles containing the chemical.
"When we see lead in toys and BPA in baby bottles, all of these things arouse a kind of parental anxiety that overrides any counter-arguments based on science that industry might make," Jasanoff said.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced a measure last month that would overhaul U.S. chemical regulation along the lines of the new European approach. It would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use biomonitoring studies to identify industrial chemicals present in umbilical cord blood and decide whether those chemicals should be restricted or banned. A study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found an average of 200 industrial chemicals in the cord blood of newborns.
Said Denison: "We still have quite a ways to go in convincing the U.S. Congress this is a problem that needs fixing." But new policies in Europe and in Canada push the United States closer to change, he said. "They show it's feasible, it's being done elsewhere, and we're behind."
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)