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Climate change is on the radar for rural voters in Iowa. Plus, the Senate impeachment rules.

2020Talks - January 21, 2020 


Candidates attended the Iowa Brown & Black Forum in Des Moines, and answered tough questions about their records on race. It was MLK Day, and earlier many were in South Carolina marching together to the State Capitol.

Congress Looks at Toxic Load for NC Kids

May 5, 2010

ASHEVILLE, N. C. - Flame retardants, certain plastics, chemical dyes and pigments – all are on the list of toxic substances of concern to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress is considering major changes to the "Toxic Substances Control Act," to give the EPA more regulation tools, with an emphasis on children's health.

Maureen Swanson is director of the Healthy Children Project, part of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, a group with offices in Asheville. She says the changes are important because scientific evidence has documented health problems related to exposure to many toxins - information that was not available when the law was first passed more than 30 years ago. And she claims technicalities in the original law have made it tough for the agency to regulate even well-known toxins, such as asbestos.

"The statute required such a high level of proof for EPA to meet that they could not meet it, and could not ban asbestos. I think most Americans think asbestos has been banned; it wasn't. Since that time, the EPA has not tried again."

Swanson says specifically including protections for children is key, because they're more sensitive to exposure.

"Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water and eat more food than adults do, so they're just taking in a lot more of whatever is out there. They also spend a lot more time on the ground, and they put hands and objects in their mouths."

Swanson says of the 80,000 chemicals approved for use in the United States, the EPA has been able to require safety testing of only 200. The new "Safe Chemicals Act of 2010" (S. 3209) would require that chemicals meet basic safety standards to protect pregnant women and children.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - NC