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Big news! EPA Health Report on Dioxin Released After Twenty Seven Years of Delays

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(Falls Church, VA) Today the US EPA has finally released their major report on the noncancer health effects of dioxin, which for the past twenty seven years has been delayed due to interference from the chemical industry.  Environmental and health groups across the country celebrated this important milestone.

“We applaud EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Obama Administration for finalizing this important health report on dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet,” said Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). “After twenty seven years of delays, I quite honestly never thought this report would ever see the light of day.  Today the American people won a major victory against the chemical industry, who has been working behind closed doors for decades to hide and distort the truth about the dangers of dioxin.  The science is clear: dioxin is toxic to our children’s health and development.  We strongly urge the EPA to now finish the job by finishing their review on dioxin and cancer, and to develop a comprehensive action plan to further reduce dioxin emissions and exposures.  To start, the EPA should finalize the EPA’s proposed cleanup standards for dioxin at toxic sites, which have been languishing at the White House OMB since 2010.  We call on the Obama Administration to dust off the prestigious National Academy of Sciences report on dioxin in food to explore innovative policies to reduce the levels of dioxin in the food supply.”

Dioxin is building up in our bodies as a result of the food we eat.   According to EPA over 90% of human exposure to dioxin occurs through our diet.  Dioxin is most prevalent in meat, fish, dairy, and other fatty foods.

EPA has been under enormous pressure by environmental health, environmental justice, labor, health-impacted, and Vietnam Veterans organizations to release the non-cancer health assessment in recent weeks and ever since President Obama entered office.  In January a letter was delivered to EPA Administrator Jackson signed by over 2,000 organizations and individuals.  Over the past month a broad coalition of organizations have written to EPA urging the agency to finalize this report. This includes the Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), Endometriosis Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National Medical Association, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, Vietnam Veterans of America, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Canadian Environmental Law Association, , Clean Water Action, Ecology Center, Edison Wetlands Association, Environmental Working Group, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Healthy Child Healthy World, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN), Ironbound Community Corporation, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, the Lone Tree Council, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Science & Environmental Health Network, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Union of Concerned Scientists, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

In January, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent EPA a letter urging the agency to finalize this dioxin assessment.  In April, Rep. Markey and 72 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA calling on the agency to release the report.

Dioxin is a known human carcinogen.  Dioxin also causes a wide range of adverse non-cancer effects including reproductive, developmental, immunological, and endocrine effects in both animals and humans. Animal studies show that dioxin exposure is associated with endometriosis, decreased fertility, the inability to carry pregnancies to term, lowered testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, birth defects, and learning disabilities.  In children, dioxin exposure has been associated with IQ deficits, delays in psychomotor and neurodevelopment, and altered behavior including hyperactivity. Studies in workers have found lowered testosterone levels, decreased testis size, and birth defects in offspring of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Dioxin’s effects on the immune system of the developing organism appear to be among the most sensitive endpoints studied. Animal studies show decreased immune response and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. In human studies, dioxin was associated with immune system depression and alterations in immune status leading to increased infections.  Dioxin can also disrupt the normal function of hormones—chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation. Dioxin interferes with thyroid levels in infants and adults, alters glucose tolerance, and has been linked to diabetes.

In response to anticipated concerns about dioxin in food, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) has prepared these top six tips for reducing exposure to dioxin in food:

  1. Eat less animal fat — buy lean meats and poultry – and cut off the fat before cooking.
  2. Eat fat free dairy products – or as low as you can – for dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  3. Fish is a healthy food choice – but fish are also affected, so avoid fatty fish (such as salmon) and cut the fat off before cooking and eating.
  4. Purchase food products that have been grain or grass fed.  Farm animals fed food with animal products that includes other animal’s fat increases the amount of dioxin ingested by livestock and increases the amount of dioxin that is in the consumer meat product.
  5. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  6. Breast feed your babies – breast milk is still the healthiest food for your baby.

According to EPA, dioxin releases increased by 18% from 2009-2010 nationally.  Dioxin air releases increased by 10%.  Some of the top U.S. companies that reported releasing dioxin into the environment in 2010 were Dow Chemical, Missouri Chemical Works, Gerdau Ameristeel, Lehigh Southwest Cement, Formosa Plastics Corporation, Temple-Inland, Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products, and Clean Harbors Aragonite.  Three of these facilities make chemicals to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Municipal waste incinerators, medical waste incinerators, landfill fires, and backyard burn barrels are some of the other top sources of dioxin in America.

For a copy of EPA’s new dioxin health report, visit http://www.epa.gov/dioxin

For a fact-sheet on the hazards of dioxin, visit http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Dioxin%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

For frequently asked questions about dioxin in food, visit http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Dioxin-and-Food.pdf

For a detailed history of dioxin delays, visit: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/DioxinTimeframeFebruary2012.pdf

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LisaJacksonFacebook

Take Action: Urge EPA to release dioxin health report

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We are SO CLOSE to convincing EPA to finalize their health report on dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.

We’re up against some of the biggest chemical corporations in the world, and with your help, we can win this fight for environmental health and justice!

TAKE ACTION: Send a powerful message to EPA urging them to make good on their promises to finalize their dioxin report. The head of EPA, Lisa Jackson, is on Facebook.  If you’re on Facebook, can you post a brief message on her Facebook “wall” urging EPA to finalize their health report on dioxin?   I just did and it only takes a minute.

Here’s how it’s done:

1) Go to Lisa Jackson’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/lisapjackson Click “like” if you don’t already “like” her on Facebook.  This is the professional account she uses at EPA.

2) Now at the top of her page, where it says “share: Post” write a short message to Lisa Jackson about why you want EPA to release their health report on dioxin.

3) It doesn’t have to be long – just a brief sentence or two would be perfect!  Here’s a few examples of statements you could post or modify below.  After you finish, click “share” to have your message posted to EPA Administrator Jackson’s wall.

Sample messages you can use:

  • EPA: No more dioxin delays!
  • EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson – it’s time for you to finalize and release EPA’s long-delayed dioxin health report.  No more delays!
  • We, the American people, have the right to know about dioxin’s toxic hazards.  It’s time for EPA to finalize and release its dioxin health report once and for all.

That’s it!  In order for you to see your message after it’s posted, click the “Everyone Most Recent” link near the top of the page.

If you’re not on Facebook, alternatively you can e-mail her at: jackson.lisap@epa.gov

Thanks so much for your help and support.  Together we can win this!

Yours for a dioxin-free future,

Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator

Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)

PS – After you take action, if you don’t want to receive updates from Lisa Jackson on Facebook, just click “unlike” on the bottom left hand side of her page after you’re done.


EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

Paging Lisa Jackson (and the rest of the EPA)

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I still can’t believe it.

This week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson delivered a gift to Dow Chemical and the rest of the  chemical industry.

I bet you’re wondering.  What’d she do?  Nothing.

You see, that’s the problem.

For twenty seven years, we’ve been waiting for the release of the EPA’s report on the health hazards on dioxin.  Since 1985!  We know dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet, but without a final report from EPA on the health impacts of dioxin, the EPA’s and state governments’ hands are tied to meaningfully protect us from this unnecessary poisonous chemical.

For twenty seven years, every step of the way, the chemical industry and big ag have delayed the release of this critical public health report.

We’ve been waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  It’s not just us.  Vietnam Veterans, breast cancer advocates, environmental justice leaders and many others have raised their voices and called on EPA to finalize this study once and for all. Thousands of people and organizations have signed a letter calling on EPA to finalize this report.  We’re all in this together.

Our rallying cry?  Enough is enough – no more delays!  After all, we have the the right to know.

And I’m afraid to say, it’s happened again this week.  I still can’t believe it.

That’s why we need your help.  We can’t let them get away with this!

In response to these new delays, we issued a national press release blasting EPA .   Our founder and Executive Director, Lois Gibbs, who’s been working on dioxin issues for over 30 years, had this to say:

“Shame on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for denying parents the information they need to protect their children from the health impacts of dioxin. This is America — parents have the right to know.  Today the EPA has once again caved into pressure from Dow Chemical and their chemical industry cronies.  EPA shouldn’t cave in to chemical industry dollars and interests over public health.  Cancer, diabetes, infertility, learning disabilities and other chronic diseases linked to dioxin exposure are extremely costly to American taxpayers. EPA missed yet another deadline to release their report on dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.  In recent months, the chemical industry has been working behind closed doors to hide and distort the truth about the dangers of dioxin.  At the same time, Vietnam Veterans, breast cancer advocates, public health organizations, and environmental justice leaders have stood shoulder to shoulder and urged EPA to do what’s right for the health of American children and families.  We call on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to immediately release this important report.  We can’t wait any longer.”

Our allies at the Lone Tree Council did as well. Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Council had this to say:

“Since the mid 1980’s when the Reagan administration permitted Dow Chemical to rewrite the EPA report on dioxin, administration after administration in the White House has cowed to this company and their lobbyists.  Public health is being sacrificed, our water resources disregarded and science is being ignored once again in an effort to placate the moneyed interest. It is indefensible that this administration capitulated to industry, reaffirming the belief of most Americans that corporations have greater influence and more control and rights than people”

This has generated a wave of media coverage around the country, from the Wall Street Journal and CNN, to Greenwire, the Saginaw News, Michigan Public Radio, and the Atlantic.

The American Chemistry Council (aka Dow Chemical’s spokespeople) was quoted as saying, “Another delay is unfortunate.”

What?  That’s just exactly what they want.

EPA has been amazingly silent this week.  They issued no official statement on the timeframe for next steps.  No update to the science plan.  Nothing.

I still can’t believe it.

Where is EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson?

Paging Lisa Jackson, the American people are waiting for you.  We can’t wait any longer.

denied

Environmental Health Leaders Blast EPA for Failing to Release Dioxin Health Report

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Once Again American Public Denied Right to Know and Ability to Protect Families from Unnecessary Exposure

Advocates Urge EPA to Immediately Release Dioxin Health Report, Decry 27 Years of Delays Due to Chemical Industry Interference

(Falls Church, VA) For twenty seven years, the American public has been kept in the dark about the health impacts of dioxin.  Today environmental health advocates strongly condemned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for once again failing to meet their January 31st deadline to release their report on the noncancer impacts of dioxin.

“Shame on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for denying parents the information they need to protect their children from the health impacts of dioxin,” said Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). “This is America — parents have the right to know.  Today the EPA has once again caved into pressure from Dow Chemical and their chemical industry cronies.  EPA shouldn’t cave in to chemical industry dollars and interests over public health.  Cancer, diabetes, infertility, learning disabilities and other chronic diseases linked to dioxin exposure are extremely costly to American taxpayers. EPA missed yet another deadline to release their report on dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.  In recent months, the chemical industry has been working behind closed doors to hide and distort the truth about the dangers of dioxin.  At the same time, Vietnam Veterans, breast cancer advocates, public health organizations, and environmental justice leaders have stood shoulder to shoulder and urged EPA to do what’s right for the health of American children and families.  We call on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to immediately release this important report.  We can’t wait any longer.”

EPA has been under intense pressure by environmental health, environmental justice, labor, health-impacted, and Vietnam Veterans organizations to release the non-cancer health assessment in recent weeks and ever since President Obama entered office.  Last week, a letter was delivered to EPA Administrator Jackson signed by over 2,000 organizations and individuals from across the country.

Over the past three weeks a broad coalition of organizations have written to EPA urging the agency to finalize this review The coalition includes Breast Cancer Fund, Endometriosis Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, Vietnam Veterans of America, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, Clean Water Action, Ecology Center, Edison Wetlands Association, Environmental Working Group, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Healthy Child Healthy World, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN), Ironbound Community Corporation, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, the Lone Tree Council, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Science & Environmental Health Network, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Union of Concerned Scientists, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

In January, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent EPA a letter urging the agency to finalize this dioxin assessment.  In April, Rep. Markey and 72 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA calling on the agency to release the report.

Dioxin is a known human carcinogen.  Dioxin also causes a wide range of adverse non-cancer effects including reproductive, developmental, immunological, and endocrine effects in both animals and humans. Animal studies show that dioxin exposure is associated with endometriosis, decreased fertility, inability to carry pregnancies to term, lowered testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, birth defects, and learning disabilities.  In children, dioxin exposure has been associated with IQ deficits, delays in psychomotor and neurodevelopment, and altered behavior including hyperactivity. Studies in workers have found lowered testosterone levels, decreased testis size, and birth defects in offspring of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Dioxin’s effects on the immune system of the developing organism appear to be among the most sensitive endpoints studied. Animal studies show decreased immune response and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. In human studies, dioxin was associated with immune system depression and alterations in immune status leading to increased infections.  Dioxin can also disrupt the normal function of hormones—chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation. Dioxin interferes with thyroid levels in infants and adults, alters glucose tolerance, and has been linked to diabetes.

According to EPA, dioxin releases increased by 18% from 2009-2010 nationally.  Dioxin air releases increased by 10%.  The top ten U.S. companies that reported releasing dioxin into the environment in 2010 were Westlake Vinyls, Dow Chemical (Freeport Facility), Dow Chemical (Louisiana Operations), Missouri Chemical Works, Gerdau Ameristeel, Lehigh Southwest Cement, Formosa Plastics Corporation (Louisiana), Temple-Inland, Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products, and Clean Harbors Aragonite.  Four of these ten facilities make chemicals to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Municipal waste incinerators, medical waste incinerators, landfill fires, and backyard burn barrels are some of the other top sources of dioxin in America.

Most Recent Dioxin Timeline:

January 31, 2012: EPA once again misses their deadline for finalizing their report on the noncancer impacts of dioxin.

January 26, 2012: Thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States write to EPA urging the agency to finalize this study once and for all: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/PVCSignOnLetterJanuary26.pdf

January 10-31, 2012: Over a two week period, 30 organizations send letters to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging EPA to finalize dioxin studies:  http://chej.org/2012/01/lisa-jackson-finalize-the-epa%E2%80%99s-dioxin-study-once-and-for-all/

January 11, 2012: International Dairy Food Association (IDFA) and other members of the Food Industry Dioxin Working Group, a coalition of agriculture, processing and retail food industry organizations that have been pressuring EPA and the Obama Administration to once again delay the release of the  dioxin report, formally ask EPA to withdraw its dioxin risk reassessment from interagency review and remove it from EPA’s regulatory schedule. http://www.idfa.org/news–views/details/6833/

January 10, 2012: Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sends EPA a letter urging the agency to finalize the dioxin study. http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-epa-no-more-delays-dioxin-health-assessment

January 5, 2012: EPA announces that overall dioxin releases increased by 18% from 2009-2010 nationally, and dioxin air releases increased by 10%: http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-epa-no-more-delays-dioxin-health-assessment

December 20, 2011: American Chemistry Council (ACC) requests EPA delay the release of the dioxin reassessment: http://www.americanchemistry.com/Policy/Regulatory-Reform/Cal-Dooley-Letter-to-Administrator-Jackson-Fix-Dioxin-Reassessment.pdf

December 7, 2011: IDFA and other members of the Food Industry Dioxin Working Group, urge the White House to intervene on the dioxin reassessment: http://www.idfa.org/key-issues/category/food-safety–defense/details/6721/

November 2, 2011: IDFA writes to U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and requests that the two agencies “urge EPA to pursue scientific review by the National Academy of Sciences of any proposed reference dose and to coordinate with your agencies any actions that could undermine consumer confidence in the safety of our food supply.” http://www.idfa.org/files/resources/idfa_dioxin_letter_vilsack_hamburg_102811.pdf

August 29, 2011: EPA announces its final plan for completing their study on dioxin, which EPA has been working on since 1985. http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=209690

August 26, 2011: EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) releases their final report reviewing EPA’s draft dioxin Reanalysis: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/fedrgstr_activites/2A45B492EBAA8553852578F9003ECBC5/$File/EPA-SAB-11-014-unsigned.pdf

April 11, 2011: Rep. Markey and 72 members of Congress send a letter to EPA calling on the agency to release the study. http://markey.house.gov/press-release/april-11-2011-markey-leads-call-epa-speed-action-dioxin

For a more detailed history of dioxin delays, visit: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/DioxinTimeframeFebruary2012.pdf

For a fact-sheet on the hazards of dioxin, visit http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Dioxin%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

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dioxinbreakfastad

Environmental and Health Groups Call on EPA to Finalize Study on One of the Most Toxic Chemicals on the Planet

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Chemical Industry Stall Tactics Have Delayed Release of Study for 27 Years,  Groups Say

(Falls Church, VA) Pressure is escalating on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to make good on the EPA’s promise to finalize their 27 yearlong-delayed study on dioxin by the end of this January.  Today a broad coalition of environmental health, environmental justice, Vietnam Vets, labor, women’s groups, and health-impacted organizations delivered a letter calling on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to finalize their study on dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.  Over 2,000 individuals and organizations from across the United States signed the letter.

“It is outrageous that EPA has been evaluating the risks of toxic dioxin since 1985 – for more than 25 years – and that the agency has repeatedly allowed the chemical industry to delay its efforts to finalize its study,” said Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). “EPA must take action to protect American children from exposure to this poisonous chemical which is building up in our bodies, breast milk and food.”

Dioxin is a chemical that is known to cause cancer. Learning disabilities, birth defects, endometriosis, and diabetes have all been linked to dioxin exposure. Dioxin weakens the human immune system and decreases the level of the male hormone testosterone. Almost every man, woman and child in the U.S. has measurable levels of dioxin in their bodies.  Babies are exposed to dioxin in the womb, and nursing infants are exposed to dioxin in breast-milk. Dioxin is the same chemical that was in Agent Orange.  Over 170 nations across the world have a signed a global treaty to phase it out.

Over the past two weeks a broad coalition of organizations have written to EPA urging the agency to finalize this study once and for all. This includes the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Breast Cancer Fund, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, Clean Water Action, Ecology Center, Edison Wetlands Association, Endometriosis Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Healthy Child Healthy World, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN), Ironbound Community Corporation, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, the Lone Tree Council, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Medical Association, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Science & Environmental Health Network, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Union of Concerned Scientists, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

“Cancer is killing our kids. Every sixty minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer and every six hours a child will lose her battle to the disease. It’s time for the EPA to step up and set limits on dioxin to protect our families from chemicals that cause cancer,” said Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, an organization that empowers parents to protect children from harmful chemicals. Healthy Child Healthy World collected 890 petition signatures urging the EPA to take action on dioxin.

Timeline

• January 26, 2012: Thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States have written to EPA urging the agency to finalize this study once and for all: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/PVCSignOnLetterJanuary26.pdf

• January 10, 2012: Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent EPA a letter urging the agency to finalize this dioxin study. http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-epa-no-more-delays-dioxin-health-assessment

• January 2012: EPA announced dioxin releases increased by 18% from 2009-2010, and dioxin air releases increased by 10%. http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-epa-no-more-delays-dioxin-health-assessment

• December 2011: American Chemistry Council and coalition of agricultural trade associations pressure EPA to delay release of EPA’s noncancer dioxin study, scheduled to be released the end of January 2012. http://www.americanchemistry.com/Policy/Regulatory-Reform/Cal-Dooley-Letter-to-Administrator-Jackson-Fix-Dioxin-Reassessment.pdf

• August 2011: EPA announced its final plan for completing their study on dioxin, which EPA has been working on since 1985. http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=209690

• April 2011: Rep. Markey and 72 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA calling on the agency to release this study. http://markey.house.gov/press-release/april-11-2011-markey-leads-call-epa-speed-action-dioxin

For a more detailed timeline, visit: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/DioxinTimeframe.pdf

For a copy of the dioxin coalition letter sent to EPA today, visit http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/PVCSignOnLetterJanuary26.pdf

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Contact: Mike Schade, CHEJ, 212-964-3680, mike@chej.org

Source: Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson: Finalize the EPA’s Dioxin Study Once and for All

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Pressure is mounting on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to make good on her promise to finalize the EPA’s 25+ year-long delayed Dioxin Reassessment.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

Today CHEJ’s Executive Director Lois Gibbs sent EPA Administrator Jackson a letter strongly urging EPA to finalize the Dioxin Reassessment once and for all.  Lois has been working on dioxin issues for over 30 years, even going back to 1978 when she organized her neighbors to be relocated from the dioxin-contaminated community at Love Canal.

You can read the letter here, and I’ve selected some choice excerpts:

“It is outrageous that EPA has been evaluating the risks of dioxin exposure since 1985 – for more than 25 years – and that the agency has repeatedly allowed the regulated industry to delay its efforts to finalize its assessment.

As EPA has continued to work on the Dioxin Reassessment, people in communities across the country are continuing to be exposed to this highly toxic chemical.

Yet once again, industry is attempting to stall the release of this important report. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and other industry trade associations are once again pressuring the agency to further delay the release of this important document. Once again they are asking for more review, more certainty, and more delays.  EPA will never satisfy these requests no matter what information you provide, because these groups continue to benefit from an incomplete report that is not finalized.

EPA has a moral and ethical responsibility to make public in final form its best scientific opinion on the health risks posed by exposure to dioxin and dioxin-like compounds. The American public has a right to know about the health consequences of exposure to dioxins, and EPA needs to take steps to protect American families from this unnecessary harmful class of chemicals.”

We’re not in this alone.

A broad coalition of environmental health, environmental justice, labor, Vietnam, women’s groups, and reproductive health organizations has joined this urgent call.

Today, James Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who represents over 1.4 million workers, sent a letter to Lisa Jackson urging EPA to finalize this report.  The Teamsters represent many workers that are likely exposed to dioxin on the job, as EPA has reported landfill fires are one of the biggest source of dioxin in America.  The letter reads in part:

“Over 32,000 of our members are represented by the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.  The Teamsters Union is committed to standing up for the rights of all waste workers.

Waste workers may potentially be exposed to dioxin from landfill fires, the disposal of residual ash generated by incineration, and commercial and industrial sites that were not properly cleaned up.

According to your Agency’s January 5, 2012 report, air releases of dioxin rose 10 percent from 2009-2010, while other releases, such as landfill disposal, increased 18 percent.

These exposures to dioxin, in addition to its presence in our food supply, means that waste workers may face increased risks of high dioxin levels.

I am pleased that the EPA “is committed to a transparent, scientifically sound process to determine how this chemical impacts Americans’ health” and I respectfully urge you to move expeditiously, past two decades of delay, to guard the health of American workers, families and the public from this unnecessary hazard.”

Last week Rep. Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent EPA a fantastic letter urging EPA to finalize this dioxin study.  You can read Markey’s letter and press release here. This comes at a time when EPA actually announced dioxin releases increased by 18% from 2009-2010, and dioxin air releases increased by 10%.  Read about it in this story in the Washington Post.

A growing body of organizations have written to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson the past few weeks urging the agency to act on dioxin.  Other organizations include:

You can join us by signing on to our letter to EPA, which we plan to deliver next week.

Will you join us and stand up to the chemical industry?