Formaldehyde Added to List of Cancer-Causing Chemicals
Friday, June 17, 2011
David Vitter, the formaldehyde senator
The Department of Health and Human Services has classified formaldehyde as a known carcinogen, but it remains to be seen if another part of the federal government will do its part to limit the chemical’s exposure to the public.
Health experts want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish tough new regulations for formaldehyde, and the agency has tried to move in that direction since 1998. But one U.S. senator in particular, Republican David Vitter of Louisiana, has thwarted those efforts.
Two years ago, Vitter successfully delayed the EPA’s new assessment on formaldehyde by tying up the nomination of a key agency appointee and forcing the EPA to send its draft to the National Academy of Sciences for review.
Vitter has close ties to the chemical industry, which has raised large contributions for the senator.
Formaldehyde contamination gained national attention when the chemical was linked to the health problems of Americans who lived in trailers provided by FEMA after they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005. According to the Formaldehyde Council, formaldehyde is used in products as widespread as toothpaste, mascara, flooring, car parts, wrinkle-free clothing and dollar bills.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Stricter Regulation of Formaldehyde Remains Uncertain Despite Carcinogen Ruling (by Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica)
Government Lists Formaldehyde as a Known Carcinogen (by Robyn Griggs Lawrence, Huffington Post)
10 June 2011: New Substances Added to HHS Report on Carcinogens (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
David Vitter: The Formaldehyde Senator (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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