Thought this might interest some of you. From Common Courage Press.
>Date: 21 Sep 1999 16:59:08 -0000
>From: "Common Courage Political Literacy Course"
>Delivered-To: mailing list PolitLit@listbot.com
>Subject: Chemicals: Do You Smell Fraud?
>Info on this email course is at the bottom.
>Toxics and safety: have we got the right mix?
>True or false? In the last half century, several developments have
>constrained chemical companies from selling harmful products, ensuring our
>greater health and safety. Since DDT and asbestos are now banned, the
>government will eventually remove all other harmful chemicals from the
>market. With the growing popularity of organic food, pesticides are on the
>way out. We can trust the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and
>Drug Administration to regulate what pesticides and other products get
>used. On top of this, the potential for huge legal liabilities when
>products hurt people has kept the chemical industry on a tight leash. We
>can never be totally safe, but the regulatory and legal systems minimize
>the risk of illness or worse from chemicals. The worst is over.
>Dan Fagin and Marianne Lavelle, co-authors of "Toxic Deception: How the
>Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law and Endangers Your
>Health," upset this optimism with some disturbing facts:
>1. The World Health Organization estimated in 1989 that pesticides
>worldwide cause one million poisonings a year and 20,000 deaths.
>2. The problem is getting worse: According to one 1992 study, pesticides
>like Monsanto's Ortho Weed-B-Gon, which contains 2, 4-D, are used at least
>once a year by 98 percent of all families in the U.S. And it's a huge,
>fast-growing industry: in 1995, the largest 100 U.S.-based chemical
>companies sold over $234 billion worth of chemical products. This
>represents a 17 percent growth over the previous year's sales and a tidy
>profit of $35 billion.
>3. The EPA is overwhelmed. While 300 man-made chemicals have been
>identified as cancer-causing agents in chemical tests, 80 percent of
>chemicals currently on the market remain untested.
>4. Fear of law suits is not as constraining a force on corporate behavior
>as many would like to believe. Chemical companies also know more about
>their products than they like to admit. In 1991 and 1992, the EPA offered
>amnesty from big money fines to any manufacturers who turned in health
>studies they should have turned in to the agency earlier. Manufacturers
>suddenly turned over 10,000 documents!
>5. What are the health effects? While it's difficult to paint a complete
>picture, the dangers are clear. As Lavelle and Fagin write, "At least 20
>peer-reviewed studies have linked various pesticides to cancer in
>children. A recent study of 474 Denver children, for example, found that
>they were more than twice as likely to get leukemia if pest strips had
>been used in their homes and also were significantly more likely to get
>brain tumors or lymphomas if their homes had been treated by
>How did we get here? Why isn't the EPA doing a better job? Can science
>solve this mess? What can we do? These questions are addressed in "Toxic
>Deception" and will be the subject of future emails. Click on
>http://www.commoncouragepress.com/toxicd.html for more.
> Also available: a Beyond the Book interview with Marianne Lavelle and Dan
>Fagin, "Dangerous Chemicals, Deadly Decisions."
>TOMORROW: Jim Hightower examines corporations on your mind.
>This is the free Political Literacy Course from Common Courage Press: A
>backbone of facts to stand up to spineless power. Email 11, September 21
>1999. Week 3: Corporate Crime. Homepage: http://www.commoncouragepress.com
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