The AP today provides us with a short list of chemicals for which the a federally mandated risk assessment for “cancer and other health risks has been delayed.” Some of the chemicals in question include the following:


Naphthalene is a common air pollutant; it is an industrial intermediate and a component of some fuels, and is produced by combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. Naphthalene is already identified as a TAC as a result of its listing as a U.S. Hazardous Air Pollutant. For assessment of non-cancer effects, a Chronic Reference Exposure Level was adopted in 2000. Naphthalene was listed as a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer on April 19, 2002, and was classified as Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2002. A recent study (NTP, 2000) in rats was found to show clear evidence of a carcinogenic effect, resolving the previous uncertainties and upgrading the body of data available to a level that allows satisfactory cancer risk assessment. Accordingly, and in view of the importance of naphthalene as an air pollutant, OEHHA has developed a cancer unit risk value for use in the Hot Spots and TAC programs.


Trichloroethylene is an organic chemical that has been used in dry cleaning, for metal degreasing, and as a solvent for oils and resins. It has been shown to cause liver and kidney cancer in experimental animals. This article reviews over 80 published papers and letters on the cancer epidemiology of people exposed to trichloroethylene. […]

Sites that show the most consistent and compelling results with respect to TCE exposure and cancer are the kidney and liver. The next most compelling results with respect to TCE exposure are for Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cervical cancer. For dry cleaners and laundry workers, presumably due to PERC exposure, the most compelling results are found for kidney, liver, cervical, lung, esophageal, and pancreatic cancers and multiple myeloma. Weaker results were found for laryngeal, colon, and prostate cancer with TCE exposure, and for bladder cancer among TCE-exposed dry cleaners and laundry workers.

Perchloroethylene (caution: pdf file)

Our nation’s groundwater and soil are also significantly at risk of perc contamination. According to one report, perc is found in more than 50 percent of the Superfund sites in the country and 70 percent of all perc used ends up in the environment. The California State Department of Toxic Substances Control identified perc as a solvent that has contaminated one out of every ten public drinking water wells in California, creating a need for a state cleanup effort estimated at up to 3 billion dollars. The New York
State Department of Environmental Conservation found one out of every five of the state’s 2,221 dry cleaners had perc site contamination, and identified 235 sites that threaten drinking water supplies. Florida estimates that there are approximately 2,800 perc-contaminated sites that will require clean-up, costing billions of dollars in remediation. Some landlords, who have experienced first-hand or heard of the high remediation costs of soil or groundwater contamination caused by perc, will no longer renew or accept lease applications from dry cleaners. […]

Acute, or short-term, exposure to perc can cause a series of human health-related problems, especially to those who come in direct daily contact with the chemical. Some of the most common symptoms include irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, throat
and lungs; burns, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, coughing, and impaired judgment and perception. High levels of exposure to perc can cause central nervous system intoxication, dizziness, and loss of coordination. Several health studies have found that dry cleaning workers directly exposed to perc regularly suffer from such central nervous system ailments as headaches, nausea, vertigo,
fatigue, irritability, and dizziness.

Chronic, or long-term, exposure can cause neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, damage to the liver and kidneys, and respiratory disease. […]

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently performed a study that
observed the health effects of 1,708 individuals who worked at dry cleaners in San Francisco and Oakland, California; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and New York, New York. The study found that dry cleaning workers experienced cancers of the tongue, bladder, esophagus, intestine, lung and cervix.


Formaldehyde is used as a tissue preservative in medical laboratories, and as an embalming fluid in mortuaries. It is also used as a preservative in some foods, and as an antibacterial ingredient in cosmetics, household antiseptics, medicines, dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, carpet cleaners, lacquers, and wood products. It is used as a preservative in some paints, paper coatings, and cosmetics; in the permanent press coating on fabrics; in carpets; and in some foam insulation materials.

Formaldehyde is used industrially in the manufacturing of other chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, latex rubber, photographic film, and preservatives; in glues and adhesives for pressed wood products such as particle board and plywood; in leather tanning; and as an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant. […]

Formaldehyde is listed as a substance “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in the Eleventh Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program because long-term exposure has been linked to increased cancer of the nose and throat. Drinking large amounts of formaldehyde can cause coma and death due to respiratory failure. Drinking formaldehyde can also cause convulsions, intense pain in the mouth and stomach, nausea, vomiting, signs of shock, vertigo, stupor, and diarrhea. Direct contact of the eyes with formaldehyde can cause permanent eye damage or loss of vision.

Exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs, severe shortness of breath, bronchitis, and rapid heart rate. Continued exposure can also cause severe allergic reactions of the skin and eyes, skin allergies and rashes, and asthma-like allergies with coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and a drop in body temperature.

Lest you think this was all just some innocent slip-up by the EPA, or the result of a few “rogue government bureaucrats” bent on giving innocent Americans cancer, etc., the GAO has a report out that places the blame squarely upon interference from officials in the White House:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is undermining the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to determine health dangers of toxic chemicals by letting nonscientists have a bigger — often secret — role, congressional investigators say in a report obtained by The Associated Press. […]

The administration’s decision to give the Defense Department and other agencies an early role in the process adds to years of delay in acting on harmful chemicals and jeopardizes the program’s credibility, the Government Accountability Office concluded.

At issue is the EPA’s screening of chemicals used in everything from household products to rocket fuel to determine if they pose serious risk of cancer or other illnesses.

A new review process begun by the White House in 2004 is adding more speed bumps for EPA scientists, the GAO said in its report, which will be the subject of a Senate Environment Committee hearing Tuesday. A formal policy effectively doubling the number of steps was adopted two weeks ago.

Cancer risk assessments for nearly a dozen major chemicals are now years overdue, the GAO said, blaming the new multiagency reviews for some of the delay. The EPA, for example, had promised to prepare assessments on 10 major toxic chemicals for external peer review by the end of 2007, but only two reached that stage. […]

The GAO said many of the deliberations over risks posed by specific chemicals “occur in what amounts to a black box” of secrecy because the White House claims they are private executive branch deliberations.

Such secrecy “reduces the credibility of the … assessments and hinders the EPA’s ability to manage them,” the GAO report said. […]

One EPA scientist with extensive knowledge of the changes in the agency’s risk assessment policies ridiculed the claim that the EPA still has the final say.

“Unless there is concurrence by other agencies, … things don’t go forward. It means we stop what we are doing,” said the scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fear of endangering his career.

“The (EPA) scientists feel as if they have lost complete control of the process, that it’s been taken over by the White House and that they’re calling the shots,” the scientist said.

Everyday and in every way the Bush administration is making your life, and the lives of millions of Americans less safe, increasing your risk of early death from cancer and other health risks in order to protect the chemical industry and those businesses who use (and abuse) its products. Ironic, isn’t it, that the Bushies have increased the red tape (i.e., complicated and enlarged the government’s review process) for these harmful chemicals? But then, the party that hates “Big Guvmint” is always willing to lay its principles aside in the interest of helping out its corporate overlords. They after all, constitute it’s real base of power.

And, you know, cancer from chemical exposure affects everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. Yes, even radical Christian conservatives can die from cancer which results from exposure to harmful chemicals. Then again, maybe God is just punishing them for not having enough faith. Just like he punishes liberals, gays and illegal immigrants when they die from “Acts of God.” Still, I suppose conservative Christians will just keep pulling the lever for whichever Republican is on the ballot.

I’m sure, also, that they’ll continue to gaze with affection at their pictures of George W. Bush up on the wall in their home or office, the one right next to a copy of the Ten Commandments and an American flag. And conservatives have the gall to say we are the ones with Bush Derangement Syndrome? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it, that so many can worship a man who is more than willing to put the lives of their families at greater risk of cancer and other life threatening diseases? Isn’t that what we used to call, back in the day, idolatry? It’s certainly a cult, at the very least.

Nonetheless, one can argue that God has clearly damned America. What else could possibly explain the two term presidency of George W. Bush, and all the concomitant disasters and deaths which have resulted therefrom, but divine intervention?

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