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E-M:/ Letter to Obama: Release Dioxin Report

Environmental Groups to Obama: Release Dioxin Report After Twenty Years of Delays

Over 100 Environmental Health Groups Fight Bush’s Eleventh Hour Gift to the Chemical Industry
Falls Church, VA – Today over 100 environmental health, environmental justice, health-affected, and labor groups called on President Barack Obama to release the EPA’s report on dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals on earth.  In a letter to President Obama, groups decried President Bush’s last minute gift to the chemical industry by calling for another review of the science, which will only lead to paralysis as the EPA finds its hands too tied to issue urgently needed regulations of dioxin emissions and cleanups. 
In 1985, nearly a generation ago, the EPA completed its first health assessment of dioxin in which they concluded there was an increased cancer risk in humans at dioxin exposure levels lower than had been estimated by any government agency anywhere in the world.  Dioxin is the most potent carcinogen ever evaluated by the agency.  The chemical industry, in an effort to avoid widespread regulation, have lobbied for a reassessment of the report to find a “threshold” of exposure to dioxin, below which there is no risk.  In 1991, the EPA reassessed the health effects of dioxins and came to an even more alarming conclusion: there is no threshold for some of dioxin’s effects and dioxin acts like a hormone, disrupting many systems in the body.  In 1994, the EPA concluded in a draft report that dioxin poses a serious cancer risk and that the average American had a level of dioxin in their body that could cause adverse health effects.
Through the years, dioxin-generating companies launched an aggressive campaign to stall the release of the report.& nbsp; They have been successful over the past fifteen years, tying the EPA’s findings in numerous reassessments by the Science Advisory Board, the National Academies, and an Interagency Working Group.  None of the reviews have produced changes in the EPA’s bottom line: dioxin is a highly toxic substance that causes a variety of cancers and adverse health effects including developmental, reproductive, immunological, and endrocrinological effects at extremely low levels.  On July 11, 2006, the National Academies released a report confirming once more that dioxin is a potent cancer-causing chemical.
Despite this, the chemical industry received an eleventh hour gift from the Bush administration in their decades-long fight to stymie the regulation of dioxins.  In October 2008, President Bush’s EPA ordered another review of the Dioxin Reassessment by the Science Advisory Board which will only serve to further prolong the process. An EPA Science Advisory Board has already reviewed this report in 2000-2001 and in June, 2001, the EPA Science Advisory Board sent a letter to EPA Administrator Christine Whitman urging the reassessment be completed and released ‘expeditiously.’
Environmental health, community, environmental justice, labor, and health-affected groups, under the leadership of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, have banded together to urge President Barrack Obama to cancel this unnecessary review and release the Dioxin Reassessment so that the EPA can move forward in developing protective dioxin policies and standards.  Over one hundred groups across the country have signed on to a letter, delivered to Obama’s environmental Transition Team on Friday.
For more information on the history of delays of this report, please visit: http://besafenet.com/campaigns/dioxin_history.shtml
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ATTENTION REPORTERS:  For a copy of the letter to President Obama signed by over 100 environmental health groups, contact Moira Bulloch at 703-237-2249 ext. 19 / mbulloch@chej.org
Mike Schade
PVC Campaign Coordinator
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
9 Murray St. 3rd Fl.
NY, NY 10007
Phone: 212.964.3680
Fax: 212.349.1366
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