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December 12, 2008Scientists, Physicians, Health and Environmental Justice Advocates to New Obama EPA Director: “We look forward to toxic chemical regulatory reform”

Contact: Stephenie Hendricks, (415) 258-9151,

Dozens of health advocacy groups concerned about growing rates of asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, thyroid disease and other diseases of environmental origin, said today that they look forward to supporting President Elect-Obama’s new EPA Director with expertise and information for solutions to the urgent threat of toxic chemical contamination.

“Too many children, workers and communities all over the nation are suffering from asthma, cancer, learning disabilities and other illnesses at alarming rates. We hope the new EPA Director will be able to act swiftly to protect people from further harm, according to Cecil Corbin Mark of WE ACT for Environmental Justice in New York.  “With so many different chemicals in our environment, such as bisphenol A, brominated flame retardants, polyvinyl chloride, perchlorate, melamine and others, the situation requires immediate action to stem the illnesses linked to chemical exposure, and protect future generations.”

“We are hopeful that the new administration will take action to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer and other diseases. A good place to start is to support legislation that would ban bisphenol A from products like food can liners and plastic baby bottles,” said Janet Nudelman, Policy Director at the Breast Cancer Fund. “The fact that this unstable toxic chemical is in food containers we use every day is a prime example of why we need to overhaul how chemicals are regulated in this country.”

“Toxic chemicals can drift thousands of miles North from where they are produced and applied,” says Pam Miller, biologist and Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, “Arctic Indigenous peoples are among the most highly exposed people in the world, contaminated from chemicals elsewhere. The food they depend upon is grossly contaminated. They have been working with the international community of toxic chemical protection advocates, and both groups welcome the Obama administration’s new EPA director and foreign policy staff to prioritize urgent, common sense solutions to these issues.”

Kathy Curtis, from Clean New York says, “Restoration of scientific integrity in state and federal agencies is critical in protecting the public from harm from toxic chemical exposures. We ask that the new EPA administrator ensure preservation of integrity of scientists and other staff dedicated to safeguarding the public from toxic chemicals. Toxic chemical regulation needs to be conducted without industry influence, and we urge the new EPA chief to re-consider outsourcing important scientific studies to consulting firms that might be swayed by influence of corporations prioritizing profits over public health. ”

Judith Robinson, Director of Programs for Environmental Health Fund adds, “This is an exciting time for change in the U.S. We are looking forward to supporting President-Elect Obama and the new EPA director with information and expertise on chemical exposure, and for solutions that help support our new Green economy with less toxic exposure hazards.”

These and other groups recently submitted Guidelines and Principles for Toxic Chemical Regulatory Reform in the U.S. to the Obama transition team. The full document can be obtained at: and

Additional Resources

Contaminated without Consent 

Healthy Child Healthy World

Is It In Us? 

The Louisville Charter

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Principles of Environmental Justice 

Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders developed by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative, February 20, 2008 (revised July 1, 2008).

Toxic Playroom 

Available for Comment

Jose Bravo; Director, Just Transition Alliance; National Coordinator, Campaign for Healthier Solutions; (619) 838-6694, Jose works with communities contaminated with chemicals, which occurs mostly where low income people of color are living, although everyone is at risk.  Habla Espanol.

Cecil Corbin-Mark; Director of Programs, WE ACT for Environmental Justice ; (212) 961-1000 ext. 303, Cecil can address environmental justice and chemical exposure issues. 

Kathleen A. Curtis, LPN; Executive Director, Clean & Healthy New York; Former Policy Director, Clean New York, a project of Women's Voices for the Earth; Co-Coordinator, Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, Coming Clean; (518) 355-6202, Kathy can address chemical reform in states and on a federal level and the role of flame retardants in the story. 

Elise Miller, MEd; Executive Director, Institute for Children’s Environmental Health; National Coordinator, The Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative; (360) 331-7904, Also see,

Pam Miller; Founder and Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics; (907) 222-7714, Pam can address the drift of POPs chemicals from lower hemispheres, putting Indigenous peoples in the Arctic at great risk for illness from chemical contaminants and can also address the several hundred toxic waste dump sites, now leaking chemicals due to global warming, and contaminating water, soil and air near communities. 

Janet Nudelman; Director of Program and Policy, Breast Cancer Fund. Janet has been extensively involved in working toward restrictions on harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A and phthalates.  To arrange an interview contact Shannon Coughlin, (415) 336-2245,

Judith Robinson; Executive Director, Coming Clean; Former Director of Programs, Environmental Health Fund; (802) 251-0203, Young mother of two.

Lynn Thorp; National Campaigns Coordinator, Clean Water Action; (202) 895-0420 ext. 109. Lynn will address the need for chemical policy reform and what is happening with federal policy.