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You are here News Editorials Who knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington?

Who knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington?

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carcingensDon’t believe me? Just consider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes.

Just one other fact you should know: According to government scientists, it causes cancer.

The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus — because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia as well.

The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer. If that sounds like shooting the messenger, well, it is.

“The way the free market is supposed to work is that you have information,” said Lynn Goldman, dean of the school of public health at George Washington University. “They’re trying to squelch that information.”


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