Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lisa P. Jackson: Women's Health and Environment Conference

"Science must be the back bone of our work" - Lisa Jackson's statement on first day on the job at EPA.

As Working Woman's "Most Powerful Green Mom", she says that we need to start with our own personal health. We need to understand the risks posed by chemicals and their impact on our health. Chemicals are everywhere, 287 different chemicals found in the cord blood of babies, a steady infusion of industrial chemicals before they are even given solid food. People want assurances that chemicals are safe and risks are not ignored. 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TOSCA) - has fallen behind and inadequate tool to provide protection against chemical risks. Manufacturers not required to assess risk. Existing chemicals are grandfathered. EPA tools to assess risks are weak. Burden on proof falls on EPA not manufacturer. If there is data on risks, the law provides many obstacles. There are only five chemicals EPA can manage. Asbestos is not one of them. There are new pathways of exposure for chemicals. Baby bottles, receipts (BPA, who knew?), medical devices, food all pathways to toxins. Goals to change chemical management laws: Review all chemicals based on risks and set safety standards at appropriate levels, safety standards cannot be set without adequate information, EPA and industry should include special consideration for high risk groups, when chemicals fall short of safety standards, EPA can take action, encourage innovation in green chemistry, safety assessments need to be properly resourced. These changes are being evaluated in Congress. Chemical producers, several states and industry are starting to pay attention and acknowledge the need for change. Believes assuring chemical safety in a rapidly changing world should be the role of the EPA. She needs our engagement as women, we lead so many changes, let's push for the positive opportunities to improve health and safety for ourselves and our neighbors. Retailers are starting to realize that women are looking for better and safer products for our families, which is why we are seeing more green products on the shelves.

She departs with her aide, after hugging Dr. Wright.

Audience excused to figure out how to use the assorted recycling trash cans around the place.

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