EPA Report on Dangerous Chemicals Languishes While Industry Fights it

Almost two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency wrote an in-depth report on how toxic substances can harm child development in this country. Unfortunately, while a draft-version of the report is available online, the findings are yet to be officially made public.

The report, called “America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition,” (ACE 3) is the most current such study produced by the EPA. Two earlier versions were published in December 2000 and February 2003. Why this latest report has yet to be finalized is under much debate, with strong opposition by chemical companies being the chief suspect.

That chemical companies don’t want this latest report published is understandable. ACE3 identifies numerous studies that establish a link between chemicals and brain and nervous system damage in children. For example, the report says that there is a connection between prenatal exposure to perfluourochemicals (PFCs) – man-made chemicals used since the 1950s to make nonstick coatings in a wide variety of consumer products – and low birth weight and length, and decreased head size. It adds that exposure to some PFCs can hurt human thyroid function as well.

Chemicals Purported to be Associated with ADHD

The yet-to-be-published ACE3 reports a link between the following chemicals and substances to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children:

  • Certain common pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS) – manmade organic chemicals commonly used in commercial and industrial applications that were banned in 1979 but still exist today in products and the environment
  • Some chemical flame retardants
  • Methyl mercury – a toxic metal

The EPA report also cites the dangerous exposure to lead in many people’s drinking water.

Victims of Chemical Exposure can Seek Justice

Chemical manufacturing is a $674 billion a year industry in this country. So it unfortunately carries much clout. The industry’s leading lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council, has been very vocal in doubting the validity of the study’s conclusions.

Fortunately, victims of environmental contamination can pursue and receive compensation for their losses, despite such well-heeled opposition. For example, last year, Gray, Ritter & Graham obtained a $55 million settlement for residents in Herculaneum, Mo. whose property suffered lead contamination from the Doe Run lead smelter. The firm also has recovered millions of dollars for children in Herculaneum who have suffered harm from lead exposure, many with lead-induced ADHD.