Chemical safety in activist
By Jennifer Heldt Powell
Article re-printed from The
Herald, September 16, 2003
Pollution is taking its toll on the
Bay State's youngsters and economy,
with childhood diseases related to commonly found
costing up to $337 million a year, say health activists.
Pointing to a Tufts University study on the cost of
activists called for a law to encourage companies
to use alternative
``There are some diseases in children
like asthma, lead poison, cancer
and birth defects that are environmentally caused,''
said Harold Cox,
chief health officer for the city of Cambridge. ``The
costs are very
high. They are too high.''
Opponents to the proposed law say it won't ease the
costs outlined in
When future potential lost wages are
factored in, the cost tops $1
billion, according to the study by Tufts' Global Development
The Alliance for a Healthy Tommorrow
plans to use the report in
appealing at a public hearing on Thursday for a law
that would offer
state incentives to companies that agree to use alternative
It initially targets 10 chemicals, including those
used in dry cleaning
``We have to do everything we can to
take toxic chemicals out of our
households,'' said Sen. Steven Tolman (D-Brighton),
a bill sponsor.
``The evidence is there and it's tangible . . . how
can we let our
children get sick and not provide other opportunities?''
The bill would require companies using chemicals to
determine if there
were safer alternatives.
Opponents say the bill adds a costly
bureaucratic process that would
drive medical-device makers and others out of the
``This makes Massachusetts an economic island. It
against companies doing business in Massachusetts,''
said Robert Rio,
Associated Industries of Massachusetts vice president
Furthermore, he said, the bill doesn't
make clear what would be
considered a safer alternative. Some substitutes might
be more dangerous
in the long run.