Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers


What we recommend:


  1. A significant commitment of federal research dollars to resolve scientific questions and determine which of these potential risks are real and which ones are not. Industry should be encouraged to support research on these issues, but the funds should be placed in a trust fund overseen by a governing body including appropriate representation of all major stakeholders to insulate researchers from the pressures of special interests.
  2. Improvement of existing protections. Regulations should protect the most vulnerable members of our community, especially children, the unborn and the elderly. They should explicitly recognize that compounds interact unpredictably in the real world and they come from many sources. Enough information is already available to warrant dramatic strengthening of the constraints on use and distribution of a number of persistent organic pollutants, known as POPs, by implementing international protocols. Far more stringent testing should be required before allowing new compounds to enter into widespread commercial use. New products should be designed with the goal of reducing exposure. And there should be an accelerated research program to test compounds now in use that have escaped scrutiny.
  3. Fulfill the public's right to know. People want to make informed decisions for themselves about these issues and right now a variety of laws and practices prevent access to crucial information.
  4. Build the capacity in the United States to monitor contamination levels, health impacts, and the links between them.  The National Center for Environmental Health at the US Centers for Disease Control is an extraordinary national resource and needs public support to ensure it can do its job.
  5. Support implementation of the precautionary principle.  Current regulatory practices give chemical manufacturers the benefit of the doubt.  Substances can be removed from the market only if their health impacts can be demonstrated with scientific certainty.  This burden of proof needs to be shifted.  If plausible doubt can be justified about the safety of chemical compounds, their use should be allowed only if the manufacturer can prove they represent no inappropriate threat to human or ecosystem health.This is especially important for endocrine disrupting chemicals because increasingly it appears that aspects of their modes of action make it very difficult for epidemiological science to demonstrate causality with certainty. On the contrary, epidemiological studies of endocrine disruption in humans are biased toward finding false negatives.




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