The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4259.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 4:30 PM

Abstract #70559

Are the regulated industries regulating themselves..where is government?

Jennifer Sass, PhD, Public Health Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, 1200 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20003, 202 289-6868,

EPA's quantitative risk estimates determine clean-up requirements at toxic waste sites, air toxics regulations, and evaluations of health effects of chemicals in drinking water, soil, and food. Business interests have increasingly influenced EPA's process of risk estimation. This is illustrated in examples of the high-volume chemicals vinyl chloride, atrazine, and 1.3-butadiene. Industry put forth a vinyl chloride assessment limited to one cancer site, despite evidence that it is a multi-site carcinogen. This resulted in an assessment that proposes it would take about ten times more inhaled vinyl chloride than previously thought to induce the same cancer response. Industry representatives on a butadiene external peer review panels recommended that EPA base its estimate of carcinogenic dose-response estimate on an epidemiology study, despite its acknowledged poor exposure estimates, rather than on the more precise experimental animal data. The resultant assessment proposes it would take eight times more inhaled butadiene than previously thought to induce the same cancer response. Industry lobbied EPA to weaken atrazine standards, despite industry-sponsored studies of endocrine disruption in exposed frogs and emerging cancer excesses in company workers. The regulatory results include EPA recommendations for "business as usual" atrazine use, with the cost of drinking water filtration passed on to the taxpayer, and no protection for aquatic wildlife. In all areas of government where stakeholders have an opportunity to provide advice or opinion, this input must be appropriately limited, and the legal requirements for disclosure of conflicts of interest and balance of interests should be scrupulously followed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Risk Assessment, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Social Determinants of Health - Sound Science for Sale? Industry Influence over Research, Risk Assessment and Regulation of Tobacco, Food and Toxic Chemicals

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA