Sunday, March 13, 2011

US Government Fights to Keep Plastic Additive That Can Deform Male Genitalia

Photo courtesy: olga.palma via Flickr/CC BY

The US Chamber of Commerce is using its vast lobbying muscle to try to block the regulation of some toxic chemicals that are routinely being used in consumer plastics. And yes, scientists have discovered that some of those chemicals have been found to mutate male genitalia. In other words, the Chamber of Commerce is fighting to keep chemicals believed to deform the human penis widely available to the American public.

ThinkProgress has the story:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- one of the largest and most influential big business lobbying groups in the world -- fired a letter off to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, telling him to block the regulation of extremely toxic chemicals in consumer plastics. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of such chemicals, the chamber letter declares that that EPA "lacks the sound regulatory science needed to meet the statutory threshold for a restriction or ban of the targeted chemicals."

A wide body of scientific research has linked these chemicals, including phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), to declining birth rates, stillbirths, and an increasing number of birth defects. Many of the chemicals under review for increased regulation have already been banned in Europe and Canada. In fact, studies have shown that these plastic chemicals are directly linked to an alarming rate of male genital birth defects such as hypospadias, a condition in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside, rather than at the end, of the penis.
So why is the US Chamber of Commerce trying to protect a chemical that studies have shown to deform penises? It's not rocket science -- the plastics industry is hugely influential, and are major donors and backers of the USCC. Potentially penis-deforming chemicals are clearly cheaper than assuredly non-penis-deforming chemicals, and those plastics companies would just as soon have us peeing out of the undersides of our penises than opting for a costlier replacement.

Note: Take a look at the Wikipedia page for this medical condition. Warning: contains graphic photos.

And this is yet another example of how the Chamber wields its massive influence -- its role in shutting down clean energy and climate efforts are well known -- and is pushing corporate-friendly policies at the expense of the American people.

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