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Led by Representative Rehberg, Congress Once Again Attacks Program to Identify Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Scientists, Physicians, Consumer Advocates, Business Community, Parents Outraged 


For immediate release:
September 4, 2012

Contact:
Alexandra Scranton, (406) 396-1639, alexs@womensvoices.org

Missoula – Representative Denny Rehberg has authored a rider for the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill for 2013 that would effectively deny funding for the Report on Carcinogens (ROC) produced by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).  The Report on Carcinogens (ROC) is an informational report on chemicals that are “known” or “reasonably anticipated” to cause cancer in humans and provides essential information to the public.  Many chemicals listed in the report are in products that have historically been used in schools, day care centers, and sold to the public for use in the home.

A letter signed by dozens of organizations representing thousands of parents, consumers, veterans, and environmental health advocates was delivered to Representative Rehberg and other key members of Congress today asking that the language that would defund the annual Report on Carcinogens be removed from the LHHS FY2013 Appropriations bill.

A similar letter was delivered directly to Congressman Rehberg, signed by members of the Montana Coalition for Safe Chemicals.  Led by Women’s Voices for the Earth, a national environmental heath group based in Montana, the Coalition includes businesses, public health organizations, medical professionals, conservation groups and parents’ groups.

“The National Toxicology Program declared both styrene and formaldehyde to be human carcinogens in their latest Report on Carcinogens,” stated Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at Women’s Voices for the Earth.  “But instead of working with businesses to find affordable and safer alternatives that protect workers and the public from these chemicals, the chemical industry has gone on the attack, funding consultants to manufacture doubt and skepticism about the science used in the report.  The latest trick is getting Representative Rehberg to offer this bill rider, thereby denying funding for the next version of this critical report.”

According to the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan, cancer is the second-leading cause of death among Montana residents, after diseases of the circulatory system such as heart disease and stroke. Each year, an average of 4,690 Montana residents are diagnosed with some form of cancer, and an average of 1,890 die from cancer. It is estimated that 42,000 Montana residents are cancer survivors.

“The Report on Carcinogens is respected throughout the U.S. and around the globe as a public health resource,” states the letter delivered today to Congressman Rehberg. “We strongly urge Congress to continue to support the work of NIEHS and NTP, and respectfully request that you retract the proposed Report on Carcinogens rider and keep any additional legislation – whether in individual spending bills or comprehensive spending packages – free from any such riders.”

The Republican controlled House had summoned the Director of NIEHS, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, to defend the nation’s top program that identifies cancer-causing chemicals at a Hearing in April.

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Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm women’s health. www.womensvoices.org

September 5, 2012