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[greenyes] The U.S. Position on Reviewing Chemicals for Safety
fyi-  So stunning in its brazenness, it is difficult to grasp how far Mr.
Bush can brush aside any concern for the well being of the American public
for those very short sighted interests of the chemical industry.

I think here of a very personal experience I once had with a lobbyist for
Waste Management who had, over the years, successfully defeated or gravely
weakened legislation in Wisconsin to protect groundwater.  In his fifties,
he got liver cancer and only had a few weeks to live when I visited him in
the hospital.  I found him sitting on his bed in near tears as he thought
back, counting up the days of his life, about all the not nice things he --
like so many corporate lobbyists -- had done over the years . I didn't know
exactly what to do, so I sat down next to him on his bed and we bawled away

Somehow, though, I find it impossible to imagine Mr. Bush having the
personal breadth to ever come to that understanding.

It is so sad.



Date: April 25, 2003

The European Commission is pushing ahead with sweeping new legislation that
would create new rules for managing chemicals in commerce in Europe, even as
U.S. industry groups and government officials are trying to stir up an
international campaign to delay the process. Two directorates of the
Commission are planning to complete their internal review of the legislation
and are expecting to place it on the Internet for public comment beginning
in mid-May to fine tune the proposed system.

The U.S. government and industry groups have warned that the proposed
European rules would cost billions to implement and may violate
international trade agreements because they would restrict trade more than
necessary to protect human health and the environment. U.S. industry groups
also fear that the new policy could set a new standard for chemicals that
could lead to international bans of products that have been available
commercially for years, and have been approved for use in the United States.

The U.S. government is preparing to lodge a formal diplomatic protest in
Europe, laying out its opposition to the pending policy, which could begin
to be implemented as early as 2005, officials said. Last year, the U.S.
Trade Representative's Office warned that the policy raises "significant
concerns" regarding compliance with World Trade Organization rules.

The draft legislation, which is hundreds of pages long, reverses the
traditional burden of proof for marketing chemicals or products made with
chemicals, such as computer chips. Instead of forcing national agencies to
identify hazards from chemicals and issue restrictions to protect human
health and the environment, under the new rules, manufacturers, importers
and users of chemicals would have to prove the safety of their products at
their own expense.

The new chemicals policy -- called REACH, for Registration, Evaluation and
Authorization of Chemicals -- requires manufacturers and users to provide
information on the potential health risks posed by all chemicals available
commercially in quantities of more than one ton per year. The amount of
information and review required under the new policy is based on the amount
of a chemical in commerce, not on the hazards it poses, though potential
restrictions on use would be based on chemical hazards.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell    (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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