Daily News Archive
From May 21, 2002

Bush Resists US Chemical Industry and Toxics Treaty

The Bush Administration is resisting an effort in Congress to ensure that pollutants banned under an international treaty are also outlawed in the U.S., according to a Bloomberg report. The effort is supported by the U.S. chemical industry.

George W. Bush, the current occupant of the Oval Office, asked the Senate last week to ratify the treaty, but his administration officials refuse to accept a companion measure that would automatically ban pollutants added to the treaty beyond the 12 initially specified, saying that the measure is unnecessary because they already have the power to ban new chemicals found harmful. Environmentalists say the administration's position is based on opposition to the new regulations. The U.S. chemical industry says it doesn't understand the administration's position.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will ban 12 chemical pollutants linked to human health problems, including cancer and reproductive and neurological disorders, when ratified by 50 countries. Candidates include lindane, an ingredient in prescription shampoo used to treat head lice, as well as some flame retardants used in textiles and plastics. Several hundred pollutants are potential candidates for subsequent inclusion on the list.

Senator James Jeffords, chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, proposed legislation to accompany the ratification of the Stockholm treaty that would declare any pollutant added to the treaty as restricted under U.S. law unless the administration or Congress rejects it. Bush administration officials told the committee they don't support such an add-on approach because the international regulatory body created by the treaty does not yet have a track record for demonstrating how it will apply scientific findings.