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Toxics

INDUSTRY CONSIDERS MORE PROACTIVE STANCE ON BIOMONITORING LEGISLATION

Industry groups are considering taking a more proactive stance on biomonitoring this year, with some organizations even floating the possibility of introducing a biomonitoring bill in the Legislature. Industry sources say they have never been opposed to biomonitoring in general, but will continue to resist legislation with an anti-chemical bias, which they claim was contained in a bill last year.

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NAS PERCHLORATE STUDY MAY NOT FORCE WEAKER EPA STANDARDS

Despite finding that EPA's risk estimate for perchlorate is overly strict, the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) long-awaited report on the chemical may not force EPA to weaken its cleanup standard because the agency must still consider key policy questions that the NAS did not address.

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EPA REBUFFS STATE PUSH FOR CONSISTENT FISH-CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES

EPA and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are rejecting several states' efforts to harmonize state and federal fish-consumption advisories in order to avoid confusing a population already afraid to eat fish due to mercury contamination, which is largely caused by air pollution. The federal government's stance is drawing criticism from environmentalists, who say it undermines the goal of the EPA and FDA last year in issuing a single, coherent message on fish consumption.

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SUPREME COURT JUSTICES APPEAR SKEPTICAL OF PESTICIDE PREEMPTION CASE

Many Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical that federal pesticide law preempts all litigation under state law seeking damages that occurred from use of an allegedly mislabeled pesticide, according to questions the judges asked during oral arguments in the key Bates v. Dow Agrosciences case.

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Sen. Murray To Reintroduce Bill Authorizing EPA To Ban Asbestos

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will reintroduce legislation in the coming months that would require EPA to ban all uses of asbestos, in an effort to offer an alternative to a proposed asbestos victim trust fund, which has floundered in Congress.

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Study Linking Mercury, Autism Prompts Calls For EPA To Tighten Rule

New evidence linking mercury exposure to autism in children is prompting calls for EPA to tighten its proposal to require first-time mercury reductions from the electric power sector. While the study does not claim to prove that mercury exposure causes autism, it provides further evidence that it may be a factor.

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NAS PERCHLORATE REPORT MAY NOT FORCE WEAKER EPA CLEANUP STANDARD

Despite finding EPA's risk estimate of perchlorate is overly strict, the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) long-awaited report on the chemical may not result in a significant weakening of EPA's cleanup standard because the agency must still consider key policy questions that the NAS did not address.

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EPA STUDIES COULD SPARK NEW RISK LEVELS FOR ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

Three new EPA-funded animal studies examining the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals at extremely low doses could fine-tune agency risk levels for the controversial substances, environmentalist and agency sources say. The current risk levels were set by making extrapolations from high-dose effects.

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NAS PANEL FORMALIZES PLAN TO REVIEW DRAFT EPA STUDY OF TCE RISKS

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has formalized its plan to review EPA's controversial draft risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent found at numerous defense and industrial facilities nationwide, after EPA's draft assessment found the chemical is significantly more toxic than prior agency estimates.

Federal and industry officials are looking to use the review to justify efforts to weaken the agency's 2001 risk estimate, which they say would impose significant new cleanup liability.

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DHS Chemical Security Review May Undercut EPA Assessment

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will use a new method for assessing the risks from a potential attack on the nation's chemical plants, which Bush administration and industry officials say will undercut EPA projections that 123 chemical plants could each threaten one million people or more.

"The idea is to give a much more realistic scenario, instead of exaggerations that groups use to try to scare the public," one industry official says.

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