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Toxic chemicals insufficiently regulated in U.S.


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Pediatricians seek change in lax toxic chemicals law

April 24, 2011 By Michael Hawthorne, Tribune Newspapers

 

Alarmed by studies showing children are vulnerable to toxic chemicals found in scores of consumer products, the nation's largest pediatrician group is joining a growing campaign to overhaul how the U.S. regulates hazardous substances....

 

Under current law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges it knows little about thousands of chemicals produced in volumes of 1 million pounds a year or more. But a growing amount of independent research is raising concerns about dozens of substances used for decades with little or no government oversight....

 

Studies show that children are absorbing a vast array of harmful substances, sometimes merely by sucking on a rubber duck, drinking from a plastic bottle or playing on treated carpet. Because they are smaller than adults and their bodies are still developing, they face greater risks from exposure to toxic chemicals.

 

But when a risk is identified, there is virtually no way for consumers to figure out which products are made with the chemicals at issue. Manufacturers aren't required to disclose their ingredients, and government officials say confidentiality rules often prevent them from sharing more information with the public.

 

In recent years there has been a slow but steady effort to change the system. Enough questions have been raised about some hormone-disrupting chemicals that big retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have told suppliers they won't carry products containing the substances....

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-24/health/sc-nw-pediatricians-chemical-reform-20110424_1_american-chemistry-council-chemicals-pediatricians

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