Federal chemical testing program inadequate, scientists say

In 1996, Congress mandated that the U.S. EPA launch a chemical testing program within three years. My, how time flies. The Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program is now set to begin in 2008 — and shockingly, critics say it panders to Big Chemical. They point to the EPA’s plans to only do high-dosage tests, despite evidence that low-dosage exposure to some chemicals can be harmful. The agency also plans to either use a rat breed known to be insensitive to some chemicals, or to let companies pick which kind of rat they want tested. Also, the program may not test for effects of prenatal exposure. Speaking of that, a panel of 200 leading scientists recently declared that fetuses are more susceptible to many common chemicals than previously thought, leading to babies born vulnerable to everything from diabetes to attention deficit disorders to prostate cancer. The panel urged world leaders to stop dilly-dallying and toughen up regulations. Wonder if they ran that by the chemical industry first?