“Potential health effects of these chemicals are fetal death, clef-lip and palate and heart abnormalities, as well as neurological, hormonal and immune system problems,” according to the report.
In addition to subtle and second-hand effects, these toxic chemicals can also have a cumulative effect, the report observed.
Called “persistent bio-accumulative toxics,” substances like mercury, DDT and dioxin remain in the environment for a long time and accumulate in the food chain.
Among a call for stronger enforcement, the report also calls upon policy leaders to abandon the “innocent until proven guilty” method of regulating chemicals, thus “allowing widespread release to consumers and the environment before they are demonstrated to be safe.”
In the European Union, something called “the precautionary principle” has been adopted for chemical regulation. Rather than allowing chemicals into the market place, and thus the environment, unless they are proven harmful — the standard for which is considered by many to be impossibly high — the precautionary principle keeps any chemical from being released into the market unless it can be proven to be safe.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY