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Re: E-M:/ Right to know about lead pollution under attack

Thanks for this update.  On the heels of the excellent Moyer's report on the toxics industry, its no wonder the Bush League will be gutting right-to-know provisions on toxic pollutants.  Today's New York Times has an article on exactly that effort today": 
What is so interesting about this issue, and the whole Bush thing as well, is that the bald faced hypocrisy of the chemical industry is so, well, bald faced.  Last night, highly paid mouthpieces said the chemical industry was a good corporate citizen, etc. etc..   Then, with the very next day comes the latest industry supported effort to keep information on environmental toxins from the public.  Hmmmmm. 
Dave Zaber
----- Original Message -----
From: Tracey Easthope
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 5:14 PM
Subject: E-M:/ Right to know about lead pollution under attack

Enviro-Mich message from Tracey Easthope <tracey@ecocenter.org>

Recent reports of lead contamination in Michigan could be exacerbated
by the latest attempt by industry to roll back important protections.
The alert below by U.S. PIRG suggests that right to know provisions
that give the public critical information about lead released to the
environment are now under assault.   Please help take action
to prevent the latest assault.

>From US PIRG:
In yet another and even more heinous assault on our right to know, the
American Chemistry Council joined 66 other trade associations (yes,
sixty-six) in demanding that new EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman
delay or overturn new right-to-know rules for lead pollution. Environmental
releases of lead, one of the most well studied (and notorious) environmental
threats to children's health, is significantly under-reported in the Toxics
Release Inventory (TRI) because industrial facilities only report their
pollution if they are using 10,000 pounds or more -- that's five tons of
lead.  Because of many groups' hard work, EPA in January issued rules
requiring any facility using as little as 100 pounds to report their
pollution, which would mean 10,000 more facilities reporting and 10,000 more
communities no longer kept in the dark.

Now the chemical industry and their friends are flooding EPA with demands to
keep us in the dark by delaying or overturning this important new rule.  I'm
pasting more information below (attaching it as well) that you can use in
events if you'd like to.  The most relevant action would be to contact EPA
(202-564-4700) and urge Administrator Whitman to immediately enact the new
right-to-know rules for lead.

Lead Pollution Reporting Rules May Be Subject of Next Bush Administration
Environmental Rollback

More than sixty industry trade associations have written to U.S. EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman demanding that new rules requiring
polluters to report their lead pollution be overturned. Withdrawal of the
rule would keep thousands of communities in the dark about environmental
releases of lead, a metal notorious for its toxic impacts on children's

The New Right-to-Know Requirements for Lead
Releases of substances that are hazardous in small amounts - because of high
toxicity, persistence in the environment, or ability to accumulate in our
bodies - are significantly under-reported in the Toxics Release Inventory
(TRI). This occurs because facilities are not required to report pollution
unless they use tens of thousands of pounds of a chemical.  In 1999, EPA
moved to fill this gap in our right to know, requiring thousands more
industrial facilities to start reporting releases for a list of chemicals
including dioxins, PCBs, and mercury. Health and environmental groups urged
EPA to fill the right-to-know gap for lead as well and in January of 2001, a
rule was finalized requiring facilities that use more than 100 pounds of
lead to report their pollution.

Now the industries that pollute our environment with lead are working to
convince Administrator Whitman to suspend the rule and block our right to
know about their pollution, attacking the right-to-know rule with misleading

Industry says the right-to-know rule is based on bad science.
Lead has long been linked to neurological and developmental deficits,
including impaired learning and behavior disorders among children. The only
changing science is that health impacts are being discovered at lower and
lower levels of exposure - recent studies have found effects at levels
several times lower than currently accepted exposure levels. Industry argues
that lead does not accumulate at high levels in animal tissues or that the
science is unclear, but it's been known since the 1970s that lead can remain
in human bones for decades.

Industry says that EPA didn't fairly consider small business impacts.
Any facility releasing more than 100 pounds of lead to the environment has
an obligation to inform the public of its pollution that outweighs the
burden of filling out paperwork. EPA already delayed the rule more than a
year, extending the comment period and holding public hearings - at
industry's request - specifically so that small businesses could have more

Please contact EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman immediately and urge
her to move forward to implement the new lead reporting rules and to
vigorously support our right to know.

For more information, contact Jeremiah Baumann, U.S. PIRG,

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