Today, the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) crucial Report on Carcinogens is on trial in Congress and the scientists who decided—based on scientific evidence—to list styrene as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen are being called to defend their work in the face of industry accusations that the listing hurts jobs.
In truth, of course, chemicals linked to cancer hurt our health and the health of workers exposed to them.
Within days of the NTP’s June 2011 decision to list the chemical styrene, trade groups representing the styrene industry attacked the report. In fact, they fought for years to keep styrene out of the report altogether.
Now chemical industry representatives, including a Dow Chemical exec, have pushed themselves in front of lawmakers as part of a Congressional hearing entitled How the Report on Carcinogens Uses Science to Meet its Statutory Obligations, and its Impact on Small Business Jobs.
The Report on Carcinogens was mandated by Congress in 1978. It reviews the peer-reviewed science testing chemicals’ effects on inducing or promoting cancer, and then lists the appropriate chemicals as known human carcinogens or reasonably anticipated human carcinogens. Chemicals that are not suspected carcinogens are not listed in the report.
The NTP and the Report on Carcinogens provides us with robust and thorough evaluations of carcinogens carried out by an objective scientific agency. The report provides essential public health information that can help consumers make informed decisions and support advocacy efforts to reduce exposures to carcinogens.
The Breast Cancer Fund and many of our colleagues have written letters to encourage Congressional support for the NTP and the Report on Carcinogens so that we continue to have rigorously evaluated evidence to help inform our advocacy and educational efforts.
You can watch the hearing live online [the recording will also be available at this link]. Our eyes and voices are critical to keeping the scientific process free of political and economic influence.