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Happy Earth Day Happy Earth Day. First Earth Day Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) –Building on idea of anti-war rallies,

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Presentation on theme: "Happy Earth Day Happy Earth Day. First Earth Day Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) –Building on idea of anti-war rallies,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Happy Earth Day Happy Earth Day

2 First Earth Day Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) –Building on idea of anti-war rallies, decided to hold “teach-in” about environment –April 22, 1970 estimated 20 million people (10% US population) participated

3 Toxic Substances ES118 Spring 2008

4 Love Canal Hooker Chemical Co. dumped tons of toxic waste (PCBs, dioxin, benzene, lindane…) in Niagara Falls, NY Hooker Chemical Co. dumped tons of toxic waste (PCBs, dioxin, benzene, lindane…) in Niagara Falls, NY 1953 Hooker sold site to Niagara Falls School Board for $1 and deed that absolved them of liability 1953 Hooker sold site to Niagara Falls School Board for $1 and deed that absolved them of liability 1978 State disclosed site could be harmful 1978 State disclosed site could be harmful 1,000 families affected, higher miscarriage rate, many more birth defects 1,000 families affected, higher miscarriage rate, many more birth defects Lois Gibbs formed homeowners association, national attention Lois Gibbs formed homeowners association, national attention

5 Love Canal--Impact 1978 President Carter declared LC federal disaster area, cleanup began 1978 President Carter declared LC federal disaster area, cleanup began Occidental Petroleum (bought Hooker) ultimately paid over $200 million to state, federal government and residents Occidental Petroleum (bought Hooker) ultimately paid over $200 million to state, federal government and residents Led to major federal legislation that gave EPA authority to control hazardous waste Led to major federal legislation that gave EPA authority to control hazardous waste

6 Aftermath of Love Canal 1980 Comprehensive Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CRCLA), commonly known as “Superfund” 1980 Comprehensive Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CRCLA), commonly known as “Superfund” –Goal: Identify hazardous waste sites and clean up sites on a priority basis –Worst sites put on National Priorities List (NPL) and scheduled for cleanup –Make responsible parties pay for cleanup when possible –Initially $1.6 billion fund to identify and clean up worst sites, tax on manufacturers of certain organic chemicals and oil importers –1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) “right to know” policy –Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act provided for public release of information about chemicals made by, stored in, and released by businesses through Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) What happened? What happened? –>44,000 sites evaluated, by 2004 about 1,200 active NPL sites, and about 900 cleaned up and/or removed –>$27 billion spent –Depletion of trust fund under Bush Administration in 2003, relies now on annual appropriations of tax dollars and money recovered from companies linked to sites

7 Overview Milestones and extent of problem Milestones and extent of problem Factors that affect toxicity and classes of toxic substances Factors that affect toxicity and classes of toxic substances How do we monitor impact of toxic substances? How do we monitor impact of toxic substances? How do we regulate toxic substances? How do we regulate toxic substances? Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

8 Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

9

10 The chemical revolution The number and amount of chemicals substances sold commercially in the US has grown dramatically The number and amount of chemicals substances sold commercially in the US has grown dramatically

11 How widespread a problem? 35,000 chemicals used daily in US industry 35,000 chemicals used daily in US industry –500-1,000 new chemicals created annually –120,000 US establishments create and distribute chemicals –<7% proposed for manufacture % EPA reviewed > 20,700 pesticides used in US, and >1.2 billion lbs of pesticides produced annually, with >890 active ingredients > 20,700 pesticides used in US, and >1.2 billion lbs of pesticides produced annually, with >890 active ingredients EPA has prohibited or restricted manufacture of more than 500 commercial chemicals, including DDT, dioxin, asbestos, PCBs EPA has prohibited or restricted manufacture of more than 500 commercial chemicals, including DDT, dioxin, asbestos, PCBs Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

12 Are toxic substances unique? Many are valuable for agricultural, industrial, or consumer products Many are valuable for agricultural, industrial, or consumer products –We often don’t have a good idea of the degree of risk of these chemicals –Probability of injury may be small for any one individual, but since even low levels of exposure can be harmful, often a problem for many Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

13 Toxicity response Type and amount of health damage Type and amount of health damage –Acute toxicity: Immediate or rapid reaction Subtle (e.g., cough or headache from urban air pollution) Subtle (e.g., cough or headache from urban air pollution) Violent (e.g., convulsions induced from exposure to certain pesticides) Violent (e.g., convulsions induced from exposure to certain pesticides) –Chronic toxicity: Permanent or long-lasting consequence Examples: Mesothelioma, rare form of cancer from exposure to asbestos Examples: Mesothelioma, rare form of cancer from exposure to asbestos Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

14 What factors affect toxicity? Dose: Amount of a substance a person has ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin Dose: Amount of a substance a person has ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin Frequency and duration of exposure Frequency and duration of exposure Biological reactivity of the chemical in question Biological reactivity of the chemical in question Age and health of person exposed Age and health of person exposed Routs of exposure Routs of exposure –Inhalation (e.g., smoking, sitting in traffic)--rapid –Ingestion (e.g., food, liquids) –Dermal exposure (e.g., spilled on skin)—typically slow How well a person can detoxify a substance How well a person can detoxify a substance Genetic makeup of a person Genetic makeup of a person Synergistic responses: Response can be greater than sum of individual chemicals Synergistic responses: Response can be greater than sum of individual chemicals Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

15 Classes of toxic substances Much of our concern about toxic chemicals stem from the long-term increased risk from Much of our concern about toxic chemicals stem from the long-term increased risk from –Mutagens –Carcinogens –Teratogens –Immune and nervous system –Endocrine system Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

16 Mutagens Substances that can cause mutations in DNA. Examples include: Substances that can cause mutations in DNA. Examples include: –Chemicals (e.g., Benzene) –Radiation (e.g., UV, high-energy radiation) Classes of toxic substances  Mutagens Carcinogens Teratogens Immune & nervous systems Endocrine system Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

17 Carcinogens Chemicals or ionizing radiation that cause or promote cancer Chemicals or ionizing radiation that cause or promote cancer –In US, approximately 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop some form of cancer –In US, cancer kills about 560,000 people/year –Worldwide, approximately 6 million people/year What is link between chemicals and cancer? What is link between chemicals and cancer? –We don’t know exactly, but 1 study in US est. 8,000 cancer deaths from air pollution, 8,000 from food additives and industrial products, and 16,000 from occupational exposure –National Cancer Institute recognizes link between some cancer deaths and environmental pollution Very difficult to make direct link Very difficult to make direct link –Often years may elapse between initial exposure and appearance of detectable symptoms Classes of toxic substances Mutagens  Carcinogens Teratogens Immune & nervous systems Endocrine system

18 Teratogens Birth defects are physical (structural), biochemical, or functional abnormality Birth defects are physical (structural), biochemical, or functional abnormality –Examples include cleft palate, lack of limbs, or spina bifida –Estimated 7-12% of all newborns in US have birth defects Agents that cause harm or birth defects to a fetus or embryo called teratogens. Examples include: Agents that cause harm or birth defects to a fetus or embryo called teratogens. Examples include: –Ethyl alcohol (low birth weight, developmental problems) –Radiation –Chemicals (e.g., Thalidomide) We do not know what percentage of birth defects caused by chemicals in the environment We do not know what percentage of birth defects caused by chemicals in the environment Classes of toxic substances MutagensCarcinogens  Teratogens Immune & nervous systems Endocrine system

19 Immune & nervous systems Immune System: specialized cells and tissues that protect body against disease and harmful substances by forming antibodies that make agent harmless Immune System: specialized cells and tissues that protect body against disease and harmful substances by forming antibodies that make agent harmless –Examples: Dioxins and arsenic Nervous system: Brain, spinal chord, and peripheral nerves Nervous system: Brain, spinal chord, and peripheral nerves –Example: snake venom is a neurotoxin –PCBs, mercury, and certain pesticides are examples Classes of toxic substances MutagensCarcinogensTeratogens  Immune & nervous systems Endocrine system

20 Endocrine System Complex network of glands that releases very small amounts of hormones into the bloodstream of humans and other vertebrate animals Complex network of glands that releases very small amounts of hormones into the bloodstream of humans and other vertebrate animals Low doses of these “messengers” turn on and off bodily systems that control sexual reproduction, growth, development, learning ability, and behavior Low doses of these “messengers” turn on and off bodily systems that control sexual reproduction, growth, development, learning ability, and behavior –Examples: Dioxins at high levels are carcinogenic, at low levels may disrupt hormone receptors –Pthalates: Softening agents added to plastics (e.g., IV bags, plastic milk jugs, pop bottles) act as estrogens and may be partly responsible for earlier onset of sexual maturity, affect male reproductive health, and probable human carcinogen Classes of toxic substances Mutagens Carcinogens Birth defects Immune & nervous systems  Endocrine system

21 What do we know? National Academy of Science estimates: National Academy of Science estimates: –Only bout 10% of 80,000 chemicals in commercial use thoroughly screened for toxicity –Only 2% adequately tested to determine whether they are mutagens, carcinogens, or teratogens –Even fewer tested for possible damage to nervous, endocrine, and immune systems Worst toxics are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and transport long distances Worst toxics are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and transport long distances

22 How do we monitor the problem? Body burden data Body burden data Human health indicators (epidemiological approach) Human health indicators (epidemiological approach) Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

23 Human health indicators Source: National Cancer Institute

24 How do we regulate toxic substances? More than 24 federal laws and a dozen federal agencies are concerned with regulating the manufacture, distribution, and disposal of toxic substances More than 24 federal laws and a dozen federal agencies are concerned with regulating the manufacture, distribution, and disposal of toxic substances –CAA and CWA deal primarily with by-products, while toxic substances often relate to products we use/need –CAA and CWA include special provisions regulating toxic and other “hazardous” pollutants Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

25 Examples of types of toxics regulation Classes of chemicals Classes of chemicals Mode of exposure Mode of exposure Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

26 Classes of chemicals Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (agricultural chemicals) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (agricultural chemicals) –Requires producers to conduct extensive toxicology tests in the laboratory and the field before applying to produce and sell new agricultural chemicals –Problem: mandates testing for carcinogenicity, but does not mandate that a chemical be tested for some other significant risks, or synergistic effects Types of toxic regulations  Classes of chemicals Mode of exposure Other toxic substances Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

27 Mode of exposure Occupational and Safety and Health Act (OSHA) limits workplace exposure to unhealthy levels of toxics and other dangerous substances Occupational and Safety and Health Act (OSHA) limits workplace exposure to unhealthy levels of toxics and other dangerous substances Types of toxic regulations Classes of chemicals  Mode of exposure Other toxic substances

28 “Other” toxic substances Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) (1976) Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) (1976) –“Catch all” statutes regulates creation, manufacture, & distribution of toxic substances –In contrast to FIFRA, does NOT automatically require producers to conduct extensive battery of tests, so most TSCA chemicals have not undergone broad testing –Producer must file “pre-manufacture notification” (PMN) with EPA before import or manufacture chemical not in currently in commercial use. EPA can approve or restrict –EPA also can examine chemicals that were in commercial use before law passed Types of toxic regulations Classes of chemicals Mode of exposure  Other toxic substances

29 What regulatory options? Government can ban a substance, or permit production and attempt to control exposure Government can ban a substance, or permit production and attempt to control exposure Government needs to decide on appropriate regulatory standard Government needs to decide on appropriate regulatory standard –Health-based approach –Feasibility approach –Use risk-benefit to regulate when risks outweigh social benefits Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

30 Health-based Proscribe all risks or significant risks Proscribe all risks or significant risks Historic example of zero-risk approach is the Delaney Clause in the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDC) Historic example of zero-risk approach is the Delaney Clause in the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDC) –If food additive causes cancer in animals, Delaney Clause prohibits the additive’s use –Critics say unrealistic to ban something if only 1 in billions chance of cancer –Defenders argue that most risks turn out to be worse than originally thought and require precautionary approach –Replaced in 1996 by Food Quality Protection Act (which amended FIFRA and FFDCA)—does not use health-based approach, uses risk-based approach Clean Air Act (NAAQs), Safe Drinking Water Act (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals) are other examples of health-based standards Clean Air Act (NAAQs), Safe Drinking Water Act (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals) are other examples of health-based standards Regulatory approaches  Health-based FeasibilityRisk-benefit

31 Feasibility statutes Reduce risk as technologically or economically feasible Reduce risk as technologically or economically feasible OSHA OSHA –Congress requires agencies to reduce toxic health risks, but only to the extent “feasible” –Major question is what “feasible” means –Courts have ruled this means both economically and technologically feasible Other examples include Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act (Maximum Containment Levels) Other examples include Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act (Maximum Containment Levels) Regulatory approaches Health-based  Feasibility Risk-benefit

32 Risk-Benefit Statutes FIFRA: EPA must balance risks and benefits in determining whether a pesticide presents an “unreasonable” risk FIFRA: EPA must balance risks and benefits in determining whether a pesticide presents an “unreasonable” risk –Before registering pesticide, EPA must determine it will not pose unreasonable risk “…taking into account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of pesticides.” Many environmentalists worry that statutes like FIFRA and TSCA that require EPA to balance risk and benefit may lead to “paralysis by analysis” Many environmentalists worry that statutes like FIFRA and TSCA that require EPA to balance risk and benefit may lead to “paralysis by analysis” Risk-benefit analysis has many critics Risk-benefit analysis has many critics –Can slow down regulation and make it more difficult and thus less likely government will restrict harmful toxic substances –For example, under FIFRA it took EPA 17 years to carry out a review of pesticide Alar Regulatory approaches Health-basedFeasibility  Risk-benefit

33 Informational approaches Public pressure and market choices to address problem Public pressure and market choices to address problem Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act of 1986 through TRI as we discussed earlier companies reduce toxic releases because they don’t want to show up high on list Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act of 1986 through TRI as we discussed earlier companies reduce toxic releases because they don’t want to show up high on list Problems include Problems include –Self-reporting can encourage companies to change reporting standards –May not require companies to report amount of toxics used or what is in their products—so ultimately may do little to reduce exposure to toxins Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

34 Precaution Politically, truly precautionary regulation can be difficult to sustain Politically, truly precautionary regulation can be difficult to sustain –Under the “precaution” approach, some substances will be regulated that will eventually turn out to be relatively safe –Producers and consumers will likely cite “false positives” as evidence that the government is over-regulating Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

35 Future of toxics We need new paradigm of toxic pollution policy—only fraction of EPA’s resources devoted to prevention instead of “end-of- pipe” cleanup We need new paradigm of toxic pollution policy—only fraction of EPA’s resources devoted to prevention instead of “end-of- pipe” cleanup European cxample: REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) European cxample: REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) –European Union policy based on precautionary principal –Standards for taking regulatory action much more proactive/precautionary than US policies Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

36 Bisphenol-A (BPA) Widely used to make hard, clear polycarbonate plastics for baby bottles and sipping cups, water bottles, and food containers (most canned foods) (#7 plastic that is clear and hard) Widely used to make hard, clear polycarbonate plastics for baby bottles and sipping cups, water bottles, and food containers (most canned foods) (#7 plastic that is clear and hard) Trace amounts of BPA leach from polycarbonate containers into foods and liquids Trace amounts of BPA leach from polycarbonate containers into foods and liquids study by CDC found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of urine samples collected from > 2,500 adults and children over study by CDC found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of urine samples collected from > 2,500 adults and children over 6 Last week US National Toxicology Program released draft report that rats fed or injected low doses BPA developed: Last week US National Toxicology Program released draft report that rats fed or injected low doses BPA developed: –precancerous tumors –urinary tract problems –reached puberty early –“possibility that bisphenol-a may alter human development cannot be dismissed.” Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

37 Bisphenol-A alternatives In past week Nalgene announced will stop using BPA in their polycarbonate products In past week Nalgene announced will stop using BPA in their polycarbonate products Many large Canadian retailers, including Wal-Mart, removing food-related products made with plastics containing BPA Many large Canadian retailers, including Wal-Mart, removing food-related products made with plastics containing BPA Wal-Mart (and other retailers) have agreed to pull baby bottles made with bisphenol-a from its U.S. stores early next year Wal-Mart (and other retailers) have agreed to pull baby bottles made with bisphenol-a from its U.S. stores early next year Other alternatives: Other alternatives: –Fresh (or frozen) vegetables; alternative can liners used by some companies and Japan –Glass, porcelain and stainless-steel containers, particularly for hot foods and liquids –Several companies sell BPA-free baby bottles and sippy cups Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

38 MAINE CASE STUDY: An Act to Protect Children’s Health and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Children’s Products Last week Maine Legislature passed and governor signed bill into law to track, and potentially ban, harmful chemicals in children’s products Last week Maine Legislature passed and governor signed bill into law to track, and potentially ban, harmful chemicals in children’s products LD 2048 requires Department of Environmental Protection to keep a list of chemicals it identifies as harmful LD 2048 requires Department of Environmental Protection to keep a list of chemicals it identifies as harmful –DEP identifies chemicals of high concern –Manufacturers of children’s products sold in Maine have to disclose if their products contain these chemicals –Could be required to replace the chemicals if safer, cost-effective alternatives exist –Maine is going to participate in interstate clearinghouse of information of what is in children’s products so others can learn from the state’s experience Students in ES266 The Environment and Human Health (Prof. Carlson) helped to support this bill through class projects, including holding a public information session and talking with legislators Students in ES266 The Environment and Human Health (Prof. Carlson) helped to support this bill through class projects, including holding a public information session and talking with legislators Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

39 Brominated Flame Retardants Common in plastics, electronics, textiles in furniture & rugs; foams used in mattresses & furniture Common in plastics, electronics, textiles in furniture & rugs; foams used in mattresses & furniture –BFRs in human breast milk rapidly increasing, threaten normal brain development in fetuses and children –Accumulating in people and animals –Policies to phase out have been adopted in EU, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria, China, Netherlands –Many corporations are switching to safer flame retardants Maine: Banned BRFs because similar to PCBs Maine: Banned BRFs because similar to PCBs –First in nation law to ban some of these substances –Other states have now banned them also Extent and impacts Toxicity factors and classes Monitoring Regulation and information

40 Happy Earth Day Happy Earth Day


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