MONDAY Sep 22, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- House Energy
and Commerce Committee conducted a hearing on Sep 18 to investigate the
possible role of the chemical industry in the Environmental Protection Agency's
decision to fire a preeminent scientist on the fire retardant safety, the Environmental
Working Group (EWG) reported.
At the hearing, Dr. Deborah Rice, a top toxicologist for
the state of Maine, who was fired as chair of an EPA advisory panel on
evaluation of the toxic fire retardant called Deca.
Fire retardants have been widely used in many industrial
and household products to prevent fire.
Animal and lab studies have suggested that these chemicals may affect
children's brains and reproductive systems. The environmental health advocate
did a study early only to find that children had 3 times the exposure to fire
retardants than their mothers.
Deca has already been banned in Europe, but not in the
US, due to its toxicity.
EWG said in a statement that documents it obtained in
March 2008 showed "EPA removed Rice after Sharon Kneiss, Vice President of
the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a Washington-based trade association with
a $119 million annual budget, complained to George M. Gray, EPA Assistant
Administrator for Research and Development, that Rice had testified before the
Maine legislature supporting the phase-out Deca."
EPA also removed Rice's comments from the panel's final
report that says EPA's standard did not sufficiently protect (public) health.
EWG said EPA keep scores of individuals who had financial
ties to the chemical industry
number of advisory panels while firing Dr. Rice because the view on fire
retardants she held is not in the best interest of the chemical industry.
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