Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bravo, Lisa Jackson!

Here's some great news: The EPA plans to review six controversial chemicals and reform US toxic chemicals policy. Lisa Jackson announced this decision yesterday. Some of you may not yet know who Ms. Jackson is. She’s President Obama’s EPA administrator. I wrote Lisa Jackson two weeks ago after seeing her name in a New York Times article regarding polluted water in West Virginia:

"I read with interest of your intention to strengthen water regulations and applaud you on this as a green innkeeper and a concerned citizen. Here on Cape Cod we have a specific problem, which you might not know about, related to ground water. In June 2010, NStar intends to do herbicidal spraying of vegetation beneath the power lines, which must be cleared per Federal law. The utility company plans to use at least four herbicides, which will end up in our sole source aquifer. In a region with sandy soil and private wells, toxic chemicals should not be allowed to enter the ground water supply, especially in 2010, with all we know about body burden. Cancer rates on Cape Cod are already high. Concerned citizens in Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro oppose the spraying. I urge you to take a stand and recommend NStar use mechanical machinery to remove the brush, as has been the procedure in the past, rather than toxic herbicides. Thank you for your attention."

Now, I cannot tell for sure, but I think her assistants may have been impressed by the volumes of correspondence that are rolling in because Ms. Jackson gave a speech yesterday in San Francisco. She described the movement as “new environmentalism” as opposed to “old environmentalism.” One of the chemicals is BPA. Another under study will be phtalates, in pliable plastic. Environmental Health News reports in full here. To quote just one sentence from Ms. Jackson's speech: “'The power of citizenry should never be ignored,' she said. (For example, mothers of infants concerned about chemical exposure have prompted many manufacturers to produce BPA-free baby bottles.)"

This feels like a major victory. Of course, there's still much work to do. For instance, the Environmental Working Group just completed research that confirms the danger of cell phone radiation, something Sven and I have feared for years. To donate to EWG so they can pursue similar studies on other controversial topics, go here, and keep that cell phone away from your head!