The good news: President Bush will ask Congress to support a global treaty to phase out 12 highly toxic chemicals. The bad news: He will not back a provision of the treaty that would make it easier to eliminate other toxics as well. If ratified by at least 50 nations, the treaty on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) will ban the “dirty dozen” — PCBs, dioxins, furans, DDT, and other toxics that cause health problems such as cancer and developmental defects. Bush vowed to support the treaty almost a year ago, and today, U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Anthony Rock unveiled the ratification bill that will be submitted to Congress. Environmentalists criticized the bill as insufficient, because most of the 12 pollutants slated for phase-out are no longer in use in industrialized countries anyway.
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