Independent Science News just published “Why the United States Leaves Deadly Chemicals on the Market,” an investigative report by Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman.

Synopsis: Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman’s investigation reveals that a computer-based modeling system for estimating human health effects from synthetic chemicals has been known for years to greatly underestimate risks if used in certain ways. This system, called “physiologically based pharmacokinetic” (PBPK) modeling was originally developed by the US Department of Defense. PBPK’s use has been pushed by the chemical industry. It has been effectively used to stall, dilute, and roll back chemical regulation in the United States. To achieve this aim the chemical industry employed a motley range of allies, from groups of university scientists and journal editors to environmental consultancies.

Excerpts from:
Why the United States Leaves Deadly Chemicals on the Market“:

That the chemical industry exerts political influence is well documented. What our investigation reveals is that, 30 years ago, corporate interests began to control not just the political process but the science itself. Industry not only funds research to cast doubt on known environmental health hazards; it has also shaped an entire field of science—regulatory toxicology—to downplay the risk of toxic chemicals.

Although couched in complex language, these arguments are not academic, but have profound implications for public health. Disorders and diseases, increasingly linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors— including metabolic, reproductive, developmental and neurological problems—are widespread and increasing. About 20 percent of U.S. adults show at least three of the five indicators of metabolic syndrome: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Neurological problems, including behavioral and learning disabilities in children as well as Parkinson’s disease, are increasing rapidly. Fertility rates in both men and women are declining. Globally, the average sperm count has dropped 50 percent in the last 50 years.”

To read the entire article go to:

Note: “Why the United States Leaves Deadly Chemicals on the Market” was first published by In These Times.

Additional Reading on Chemical Regulation

Myers, John Peterson, et al. “Why Public Health Agencies Cannot Depend on Good Laboratory Practices as a Criterion for Selecting Data: The Case of Bisphenol A.” Environmental Health Perspectives 117.3 (2009): 309-315.
The estrogenic chemical BPA is used extensively in food and drink packaging. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies show harmful effects of BPA at low doses. Yet the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority disregard them all because they are not certified as GLP (Good Laboratory Practice). Instead, they have declared BPA to be safe based on two industry studies. These studies are GPA but they are dangerously flawed. The authors demonstrate why “public health decisions should be based on studies using appropriate protocols and the most sensitive assays. They should not be based on criteria that include or exclude data depending on whether or not the studies use GLP. Simply meeting GLP requirements is insufficient to guarantee scientific reliability and validity.”

Wagner, Wendy, and David Michaels. “Equal Treatment for Regulatory Science: Extending the Controls Governing the Quality of Public Research to Private Reseach.” Am. JL & Med. 30 (2004): 119.
Worrisome evidence of compromised private research is effectively ignored as the “sound science” reforms take aim primarily at publicly funded research.” This paper is essential reading for anyone interested in scientific risk assessment; the types of flaws found in industry data; how industry controls data production and suppresses adverse results; unequal scrutiny of industry vs. public sector data; the misuse of CBI (confidential business information); and how to combat these pernicious and pervasive problems. Eye-opening data and analysis.