US Momentive hopes to dismiss EPA's formaldehyde-leukemia link

08 June 2011 04:24  [Source: ICIS news]

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (ICIS)--A scathing independent review should bury a US regulator's finding that formaldehyde can cause leukemia, Momentive Performance Materials chairman and CEO Craig Morrison said on Tuesday.

"The final chapter has to be written, but we feel very good about our chances," Morrison said on the sidelines of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In June 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a 1,000-page draft report that said formaldehyde was a carcinogen linked to leukemia, an often-fatal blood cancer.

The ACC has since undertaken an intense lobbying effort on behalf of companies that produce formaldehyde, including Momentive, a producer based in Columbus, Ohio.

That led to a US senator commissioning a review of the EPA's report by the independent National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the country's peak scientific institution.

When it arrived this year, the NAS review was highly critical of the EPA's report.

According to a summary on the NAS website, "the draft assessment was not prepared in a consistent fashion, lacks clear links to an underlying conceptual framework, and does not contain sufficient documentation on methods and criteria for identifying evidence".

Morrison said the lack of scientific rigour that the NAS identified sets off alarm bells for the US chemical industry as a whole.

"As we've dealt with the agencies, there really seems to be a lack of awareness on the potential impact of the regulations downstream from an economic standpoint," he said.

"That's extremely dangerous, because if you start to put in poor regulations that are not scientifically based and fact-based, you can shut off the lifeline of the economy and you will start to lose jobs [to] overseas."

ACC president Cal Dooley warned that it is too soon to claim victory in this particular battle, as President Barack Obama's administration has yet to respond.

"Here was an independent body, the most credible body, that was highly critical of an EPA risk assessment," Dooley said.

"It is of great concern to us that the EPA, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, might ignore this review," he said.

"We are continuing to encourage the administration - let's live up to your commitment to using the best science."

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Stephen Burns
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