Contact: Richard Liroff, Investor Environmental Health Network, 703 532-2929, [email protected]
David Levine, American Sustainable Business Council 917 359-9623, [email protected]
September 27, 2010
Investors Warn Congress: Obsolete Federal Chemicals Policy Threatens Business Recovery
Managers of $35 billion in assets cite economic burden from chemical exposures
(Falls Church, VA)—While legislators’ attention in the waning days of the 111th Congress is focused on contentious economic stimulus programs, investors are reminding senators and representatives that reforming obsolete federal legislation governing toxic chemicals is necessary for American companies to be able to compete better internationally, lower health care costs, enhance productivity, and drive innovation.
The investor letter, signed by 51 organizations managing more than $35 billion in assets, endorses S.3209, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, and H.R. 5820, the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010. Both proposed laws would comprehensively overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The letter, coordinated by the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), is directed to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate committees and subcommittees that will consider the proposed legislation.
Richard Liroff, Executive Director of the Investor Environmental Health Network, commented, “Exposures to toxic chemicals produce a tremendous drag on the U.S. economy, contributing to health problems throughout supply chains.” The letter notes that chemical exposures have been linked by scientists to various forms of cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reproductive health and fertility problems, and asthma. Savings in health care costs from reducing exposures vary among studies, but routinely add up to billions of dollars annually. Exposures lower worker productivity and raise corporate health care costs. These can burden corporate performance and reduce investor returns.
Investors observe that proposed legal changes to drive development and disclosure of information on chemical hazards can especially assist those companies eager to reduce their “toxic footprint.” Because of TSCA’s weaknesses, companies have encountered major challenges in identifying the chemicals in their products and supply chains and gathering information about the toxic hazards of those substances.
The letter also cites the congressional testimony of building materials manufacturer Howard Williams—“Cancer, Parkinson’s Leukemia, Autism, Alzheimer’s and Endometriosis are non-partisan.”
The investor letter concludes that a core goal of chemical policy reform “should be to move American business swiftly away from 20th Century chemistry, with its legacy of Superfund sites, impaired human health, and damaged ecosystems, to green 21st Century chemistry that will better serve the long term well-being of business, humanity, and Planet Earth.”
“Now more than ever, we need policies that support a marketplace that operates with integrity and transparency and is producing safe products. Investment dollars and the future of our economy will rest on our businesses’ ability to restore consumer confidence in the products they use every day. American business can and will meet this opportunity with the right support,” says David Levine, Executive Director and co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council.
Available for Interviews
Richard A. Liroff, Ph.D.,Executive Director, Investor Environmental Health Network, [email protected],
703 532-2929, http://www.iehn.org, blog: http://www.greenbiz.com/blogs/user/Richard-Liroff
David Levine, American Sustainable Business Council, [email protected], 917 359-9623, www.asbcouncil.org
Cathy Rowan, Corporate Responsibility Coordinator, Maryknoll Sisters, Bronx, New York, [email protected] 718-822-0820
Michael Passoff, Sr. Program Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Program, As You Sow, [email protected] 415.391.3212 ext. 32,
Jonas Kron, Esq., Vice President, Deputy Director, ESG Research & Shareholder Advocacy, Trillium Asset Management Corporation, [email protected] 503-592-0864
The investor letter is directed to:
Senators Barbara Boxer and Frank M. Inhofe, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Chair of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Representatives Henry A. Waxman and Joe Barton, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Representatives Bobby L. Rush and Ed Whitfield, Chair and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The text of the letter along with the list of signatories is available at the websites of IEHN http://iehn.org and ASBC http://www.asbcouncil.org/Investor_Press_Release.html
Congressional backgrounders on the proposed legislation:
House Committee Summary (bullet points) of H.R. 5820: http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100722/HR5820.Bill.Summary.pdf
Section-by-Section Summary of H.R. 5820:
Senator Lautenberg Press Release with Highlights of S. 3209:
Selected studies of the economic burdens of disease:
Fiduciary Guide to Toxic Chemical Risk (Investor Environmental Health Network, 2007), http://iehn.org/filesalt/Fiduciary.pdf
The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 2010), http://healthreport.saferchemicals.org/PDFs/The_Health_Case_for_Reforming_the_Toxic_Substances_Control_Act.pdf
Landrigan, et al, “Environmental Pollutants and Disease in American Children: Estimates of Morbidity, Mortality, and Costs for Lead Poisoning, Asthma, Cancer, and
Developmental Disabilities” (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2002) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2002/110p721-728landrigan/EHP110p721PDF.PDF
The Investor Environmental Health Network is a collaborative partnership of investment managers and investor advisors, advised by nongovernmental organizations, concerned about the financial and public health risks associated with corporate toxic chemicals policies. IEHN, through dialogue and shareholder resolutions, encourages companies to adopt policies to continually and systematically reduce and eliminate the toxic chemicals in their products and activities. www.iehn.org
The American Sustainable Business Council is a growing coalition of business networks committed to public policies that support a vibrant, just and sustainable economy. Today, the organizations that have joined in this partnership represent over 50,000 businesses and social enterprises and more than 150,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives, investors and business professionals and other individuals. www.asbcouncil.org