Friday, March 21, 2008

Chemical by Chemical

It's Friday morning. I have had the entire week off and I start a new job on Monday. I've slept to 11am, took naps at 3pm, and fixed all those little things in my apartment (except I didn't hang anything, damn it) that I've wanted to do for a while. Right now I'm drinking coffee at a little shop near my house and am meeting a friend in a bit to enjoy the day via a long bike ride. Even though Florida wasn't in the first seed, I'm excited for another two weeks of NCAA games.

To start my day I caught up on my email and I found this article called, "Fearing TSCA Push, Industry Steps Up Battle Over State Toxics Bills". Finding strategic ways to make the chemical industry take responsibility for its poor decisions and encouraging technology that is helpful instead of harmful to our bodies and lives has been a lifetime goal before I was lucky enough to stumble upon it as a career.

Here are some highlights of the current story that if it wasn't real life could easily have been created by a classic poet. Not thoroughly discussed are the protagonists; the housewives, students, and activists working on solutions to current chemical messes.

Where we lay our scene:
-"Chemical industry leaders are urging company officials to gear up for a major battle with environmentalists over state toxics legislation, warning that the activists' strategy is aimed at creating a patchwork of state restrictions as a way to force industry to agree to federal reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)."

The fiercest battle is drafted:
-"Many environmental, public health groups, Democratic lawmakers and other critics of TSCA are increasingly seeking to reform the 30-year-old federal law that regulates the manufacture or importation of industrial chemicals along the lines of the European Union's Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program. While TSCA generally allows products to be registered unless EPA can show that they are unsafe, REACH forces manufacturers to show that their products are safe before they can be registered."

Strategy is conceived:
-"He urged companies to go on the offensive and be prepared in advance to combat an activist campaign. Many regulatory decisions involve peer review, which "functions more like stakeholder functions, so you need to be involved," he said. Companies need to put together resources, including scientists, public relations people, and engage "downstream customers," Rawson said."

Targets are discussed:
-"Bernstein and other speakers emphasized concerns that public health groups are succeeding in convincing WalMart and other companies to drop products containing contentious chemicals and said ACC is planning on "beefing up" its relationship with big box retailers."

Weakness in their plans are found:
-"The [activists] are taking us on chemical by chemical, he said. "It's much harder [for industry] to organize with that as a strategy."

The only thing that is currently missing in this drama is a love triangle and a conclusion. I guess we will all have to stand by.

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