January 24, 2012
- Senator Feinstein Calls on FDA to Ban Bisphenol A (BPA) From Food and Drink Containers (E&E News (subscription only), 1/24): Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S. 136, the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2011,” last January, which would ban BPA from baby bottles, children’s sippy cups, baby food and infant formula. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 to ban BPA from all food containers. When the FDA didn’t respond, NRDC sued in 2010. A settlement reached in December requires the FDA to respond to the petition by March 31.
- “Largest Corporate Dairy, Biotech Firm and USDA Accused of Conspiring to Corrupt Rulemaking and Pollute Organics”: According to a press release (1/23), the Cornucopia Institute “has formally requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate corruption at its National Organic Program (NOP) resulting in the use of illegal synthetics in organic food and then allowing powerful corporations to ‘game the system’ for approval ‘after the fact.’ The controversy surrounds products developed by Martek Biosciences Corporation. Martek, part of a $12 billion Dutch-based conglomerate, recently petitioned for approval of its genetically modified soil fungus and algae as nutritional supplements in organic food.” In a January 9 press release, the NOP announced a proposed rule “addressing the use of vitamins and minerals in organic foods and infant formula” to “increase consumer confidence that organic foods are consistent both with FDA rules and the principles of organic production.”
- Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) Asks EPA to Finalize Dioxin Study: CHEJ Executive Director Lois Gibbs sent a letter (1/20) to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson ”strongly urging EPA to finalize the Dioxin Reassessment once and for all” (CHEJ, 1/21). This reassessment of the risks of dioxin exposure has been delayed for over 25 years. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters also sent a letter, as it represents many of the workers likely to be exposed to dioxins on the job. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, also sent a letter urging EPA to finalize. The Washington Post recently reported that air releases of dioxins, rose 10 percent from 2009 to 2010 (1/5). Stay tuned for more on this from CMD’s Food Rights Network.
- “While Republicans Play Politics Over Food Stamps, New Film Focuses on Hunger in America” (Democracy Now!, 1/23)
- “EPA Moves To Clarify Hazardous Waste Rules, Opening Door To Controversy”: According to Inside EPA (1/20 – subscription only), “EPA has launched a broad new rulemaking to clarify and consolidate its regulations for hazardous waste generators, a move that one industry source says could make it easier for some companies to comply with disparate requirements, but which also could open the door to controversial policy changes.” This could affect regulation of wastewater treatment plants, which release treated human and industrial waste, i.e. toxic sludge.
- “Busted: Monsanto Abusing Illegal Workers in ‘Slave-Like’ Conditions” (Activist Post, 1/20)
- Pesticide Spin-Meister Claims Industrial Chemicals Benefit Public Health and Food Supply: Allan Felsot, a professor of environmental toxicology at Washington State University who is a long-time apologist for the pesticide industry and has received money from American Cynamid, Chevron, FMC, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Stauffer, Union Carbide, and UniRoyal, explained to E&E TV (1/12) “why he believes that despite the controversy surrounding pesticides, they play a crucial role in protecting food supply and public health.” One of his reasons is the soundly debunked theory that pesticides “help contribute to protecting yields. If you took them away studies do show that yields would drop dramatically.” Economist Dr. Frank Ackerman of Tufts University performed an extensive review for the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (2007), which ”found a 3%–4% average yield increase; other research suggests only a 1% yield effect” from application of Syngenta‘s commonly-used pesticide atrazine, and similar numbers for mesotrione. Dr. Ackerman argues that “a 1%, or perhaps zero, change does not warrant large-scale exposure of humans and the environment to this potentially hazardous chemical.”
Filed under: In the News