In late July, Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (HR 5786) in Congress. The legislation, if passed, will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the ingredients allowable in personal care products as opposed to the current law that has been in existence since 1938, which allows the cosmetic industry to determine ingredient safety. Major provisions of the legislation will create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers, and other vulnerable populations and close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure.
Rep. Baldwin stated, “Scientists are increasingly linking chemicals in personal care products to cancer, learning disabilities and other widespread health problems in our society. I am proud to contribute to common-sense legislation that says it’s time to ensure the products we use are safe.”
For the full story from the Environmental Working Group, click on www.ewg.org/Congress_Targets_Chemicals_In_Cosmetics.
Most of us are energy and waste conscious at home, but what about away from home? Madison’s east side has wonderful neighborhood festivals but they generate a lot of waste. The Sierra Club’s Four Lakes Group organizes Recycling Away from Home (RAH) at these events, and your assistance is needed with waste reduction efforts. It’s an opportunity to give back to the neighborhood and contribute to the festivals by volunteering a few hours to reduce waste going to the landfill.
Can you volunteer at the Willy Street Fair on September 25th or 26th to assist with collecting and hauling bags of trash and recyclables? Just go to www.madisonrah.org/schedule.htm and select a time slot that fits for you.
We’re also looking for people with an interest in furthering source waste reduction efforts at festivals, as was done at La Fête de Marquette with the reusable mugs and pitchers, and to help expand the Recycling Away from Home efforts. The eventual goal is zero-waste festivals! For more information, contact Don Ferber at 222-9376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the American Farmland Trust (AFT), the United States does not produce enough fruits and vegetables for all Americans to eat a balanced diet and meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) dietary guidelines. “In fact, it is estimated that we need at least another 13 million acres of farmland growing fruits and vegetables just for Americans to meet the minimum daily requirement of fruits and vegetables set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 dietary guidelines,” said Jon Scholl, President of AFT.
To read the full press release from American Farmland Trust, see www.farmland.org/news/pressreleases/13-Million-More-Acres.asp.
In late July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected petitions challenging its 2009 finding that greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and the environment. The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claim that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. After months of consideration of the petitions and the state of climate change science, EPA found no evidence to support these claims. Instead the EPA’s review claims climate science is credible, compelling, and growing stronger.
For the EPA’s full statement, see www.epa.gov/newsroom.
The Consumers Union commended the California Assembly in early July for passing a bill that would ban bisphenol A (BPA) from food and drink containers designed for children ages three and younger. BPA, a chemical found in the linings of cans and in polycarbonate plastic, has potential links to a wide range of health effects, including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive and immune systems.
Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have already passed bans on BPA in food and drink containers intended for children three and younger. Many other states have similar bills pending.
In January, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed its position on the safety of BPA, voicing “some concern” about its effects on children and infants. The agency had previously said trace amounts of BPA that leach out of food containers was not dangerous but agreed to reconsider its position after an FDA advisory committee declared it had relied on a small number of industry-sponsored studies.
For more from the Consumers Union, click on www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_food_safety/016607.html.
In late July, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed a resolution that recognizes all human beings’ right to clean, safe drinking water. The final vote tallied 122 votes to pass the resolution, 41 states abstained, including the United States, and no states voted against the measure. The resolution estimates 884 million people currently lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation.
In reaction to the resolution, Maude Barlow, Board Chair, and Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch made the following statement: “Our network of allies has been fighting for over 10 years towards achieving a legally binding recognition of the human right to water at the UN. While this is a non-binding resolution, it is a crucial first step to providing clean water and sanitation to all.”
Before the resolution was passed, Barlow stated, “It’s time politics caught up with reality. It’s time states finally recognize water as essential to life and a fundamental human right.” For more from Barlow and Hauter, see www.foodandwaterwatch.org/press/press-releases/un-set-to-finally-recognize-fundamental-human-right-t... and www.foodandwaterwatch.org/2010/07/un-water-is-a-human-right/.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public hearings in mid-July to review proposed safe exposure limits for dioxin. A review of research conducted by independent laboratories and the EPA shows that dioxin enters the human body at levels far higher than the EPA deems safe. Dioxin, a known carcinogen and endocrine-disrupter, is a byproduct of combustion and various industrial processes. Chlorinated dioxins form as an unintended byproduct of waste incineration, burning household waste and a variety of industrial processes, including smelting, chlorine paper bleaching and pesticide manufacturing.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) research found the amount of dioxin a nursing infant ingests daily is up to 77 times higher than the level EPA has proposed to protect the endocrine and immune systems, and adults are exposed to levels of dioxin 1,200 times than the EPA calls safe.
Although it has been nearly 30 years since EPA first linked dioxin to an array of adverse health effects, the agency is finally proposing a threshold level of safe exposure. To read more from EWG, see www.ewg.org/dioxin/press.