Lies of the Chemical Industry

Update from VPIRG Environmental Health Advocate, Lauren Hierl

— May 10, 2011

I knew the chemical industry couldn’t be trusted, but it’s way worse than I thought.

This week, the Chicago Tribune published a scathing series of articles about the underhanded tactics the chemical industry has used to stop regulators from banning toxic flame retardants. They lied in congressional testimony, partnered with the tobacco industry, and infiltrated fire fighter organizations.  All that, when the billions of pounds of flame retardants they sell each year have been shown NOT to prevent fires!  That takes some gall.

The chemical industry used the same tricks here in Vermont in 2009.  Thankfully, Vermont fire fighters objected to being portrayed as supporters of the industry’s toxic and dangerous flame retardants, and they helped convince Vermont’s legislators to ban some of the worst of these chemicals.  In fact, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont Matt Vinci has taken a national role in exposing industry deception.

And flame retardants are just one type among thousands of chemicals that we’re exposed to every day.  Almost all pregnant women in America have toxic chemicals in their bodies.  Studies show links between toxic chemicals and negative health trends, such as early puberty, childhood cancer, infertility, and learning and developmental disabilities, that are rising at alarming rates.

This is unacceptable.  That’s why I’m heading to DC.  I’m joining hundreds of moms to fight for Federal legislation, the Safe Chemicals Act, to protect American families from toxic chemicals.

I hope you’ll join me in signing on to a petition telling our legislators that we insist on better protections from toxic chemicals.  While both Senators Leahy and Sanders are supportive, we really need them to step up and lead the charge.

I’ll be reporting back from the march, so please check back into vpirg.org for updates on the event.