In an article published January 22, 2014 on the website of the viewer-supported television station LinkTV, journalist Miles Benson argued that chemical burdens are unevenly distributed across the country. The article „Our Unbalanced Chemical Burden“ takes up a recent warning to 300 000 people of West Virginia, U.S., to neither drink nor touch their tap water after a chemical spill into drinking water supplies. Miles Benson points to the general chemical burden all Americans are exposed to. The Toxic Substances Control Act regulating safety assessment of newly marketed chemicals was passed in the 1970s. However, about 62 000 chemicals used prior to the act were granted automatic approval without safety assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hence, the safety of the majority of around 84 000 chemicals used in agriculture and manufacturing was never assessed. Benson emphasizes the growing body of evidence linking chemical exposure to the increasing rates of diseases like leukemia, cancers and certain birth defects. According to Benson, the situation is aggravated by recent budget cuts of in the EPA and other controlling agencies. Additionally, the employment of fast-track authorizations leads to the distribution of temporary licenses allowing the marketing of untested chemicals for up to 20 years. Benson states that chemicals’ general public health impact is partly compensated by medical progress. However, he argues, the chemical burden as well as access to adequate medical services is ill-distributed throughout the population.
Miles Benson (January 22, 2014) „Our Unbalanced Chemical Burden.“ LinkTV.