Basically everyone agrees: we’re full of chemicals. Hooray, agreement!
Now what to do about it? Some California lawmakers are suggesting a program to monitor and catalog said chemicals in residents’ bodies.
Senate Bill 1379 would create the nation’s first statewide biomonitoring program to study levels of chemical contamination in blood, urine, fatty tissue, or breast milk.
Essentially it’s a state-specific version of the CDC’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Predictably though, powerful forces are aligning against it, fearing an educated, informed, environmentally aware public.
And the bill’s preamble explicitly makes the connection between environment and disease, a too-direct linkage for some sectors.
More than 100,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States, but fewer than one in 10 have been tested for effects on human health, SB 1379 states in its preamble.
About 125 million Americans suffer from a chronic disease – from cancer to asthma – and “mounting evidence links incidence and severity of these diseases to exposure to environmental toxicants,” the bill adds.
Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year, spouting the chemical company line that OK, sure, chemicals are everywhere in modern society, but there’s no need to quantify the amount in people’s bodies because that’ll just scare them. If you don’t know exactly for sure where all the chemicals came from, and their exact safe levels of exposure, and precisely how they react with one another in our bodies and the environment, then informing the public about chemical ubiquity is just creating fear, man. Fear! That’s all.
Meanwhile, the chemical companies and their friends in government lobby against the public’s access to knowing exactly for sure where chemicals come from, and their exact safe levels of exposure, and precisely how they react with one another in our bodies and the environment.
But I suppose if any state can pass that kind of progressive-for-the-U.S. legislation, it’s California.