Protecting children from industrial chemicals in the environment

, the chemical manufacturer's trade association, to provide basic toxicity screening tests for the high-production chemicals, this agreement is voluntary.

The European Commission recently proposed a much tougher regulatory framework for industrial chemicals, known as the "REACH" program (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals). Under the program, both European and non-European manufacturers doing business in Europe must submit more extensive toxicity data for about 30,000 chemicals on the market. In contrast with the REACH program, say Lanphear and colleagues, "the Bush administration has argued - in unison with the American Chemistry Council - that such regulations would harm industry."

"It is time to acknowledge that the existing requirements for toxicity testing and regulations are inadequate to safeguard pregnant women and children," they say. "Until a formal regulatory system is developed to effectively screen and identify new and existing chemicals that are toxic to pregnant women and children, we are left to await the next epidemic to warn us about an environmental disaster. Unfortunately, by then we will have once again fouled our nest."


Contact: Paul Ocampo
Public Library of Science

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