U.S. State Department Helping Chemical Industry Fight E.U. Regulation

Last year, the European Union proposed a plan that would have forced all manufacturers to test industrial chemicals and report on their public-health effects before selling them in Europe. The Bush administration immediately began a lobbying campaign to forestall the move, including several messages sent directly from Secretary of State Colin Powell to trading partners of the U.S. Turns out, according to a House report released last week, the campaign was waged in close consultation with the U.S. chemical industry. Shocker! Emails and documents in the report describe U.S. trade representatives asking the industry for “themes” to use in battling the law. Unsurprisingly, the industry pushed the notion that the legislation was based on “unsound science” and would cost jobs. (Sound familiar?) The report claims that environmental groups and the general public were completely excluded from the deliberations. The campaign has met with some success: A number of European nations have requested new assessments of the law’s impact on industry. Under current rules, 99 percent of the total volume of chemicals sold in Europe have not been subject to testing requirements.