Non-profit sues the FDA for failing to regulate chemicals in Antimicrobials

A nonprofit environmental group has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, claiming the agency failed to regulate toxic chemicals found in “antimicrobial” soap and other personal care products.

Reuters

The National Resources Defense Council alleges that two common ingredients, triclosan and triclocarban, can damage reproductive organs, sperm quality and the production of thyroid and sex hormones.

According to the suit, which also names U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant, recent bio-monitoring results found “residues of triclosan in 75 percent of Americans over the age of 6.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday. Representatives of the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment, saying it was a matter of policy not to comment on lawsuits.

Plaintiffs contend that the FDA violated federal law in its delay over establishing safe conditions of use. More than 30 years ago, the agency first proposed to regulate such products for over-the-counter use, but they remain on the market and are unregulated, the group said.

“As a result of the FDA’s lengthy delay, consumers remain exposed to triclosan and triclocarban through a variety of over-the-counter drug products, such as antimicrobial hand soaps, that proliferate on the market,” the lawsuit stated.

The suit seeks an order requiring the FDA to finish its study on the conditions of use by a specific deadline.

No manufacturers or retailers were named as defendants or were cited in the lawsuit.

The FDA said in April it was reviewing the safety of triclosan. It noted there was no evidence it could be harmful to people and did not recommend changing consumer use of products that contain the agent.

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The popularity of antimicrobial products has grown in recent years and the products are increasingly found in homes and offices, where germs can easily be passed from person to person.

The lawsuit cites various recent studies that associate the chemicals with a host of health risks, from lower thyroid hormone levels to the disruption of testosterone production.

In 1978, according to the lawsuit, the FDA proposed to ban from interstate commerce both triclosan and triclocarban either six months or two years after publication of its final study, but no action was taken until 1994, when some ingredients were reclassified.

Healthcare antiseptics containing these chemicals remained on the market and increased in prevalence” since 1994, the lawsuit said.

The National Resources Defense Council said it had met with the FDA to try to hasten the study, to no avail.

Responding to a letter from U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts in February, the FDA said it could not give a specific timeline, but said it was “working diligently” to publish the proposed rule. It also cited a lack of long-term data regarding potential health effects from exposure to the toxins.

The case is National Resources Defense Council v. USDA et al, 10 CIV 5690.

The Story of Cosmetics

The Story of Cosmetics, released on July 21st, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced with Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film by The Story of Stuff Project reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives. The film concludes with a call for viewers to support legislation aimed at ensuring the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.

China to be the new largest manufacturer, shortly

FT

The US remained the world’s biggest manufacturing nation by output last year, but is poised to relinquish this slot in 2011 to China– thus ending a 110-year run as the number one country in factory production.

Chinese workers

The influx of cheaply made goods is imminent as China becomes the largest producer for a global consumer market.

The figures are revealed in a league table being published on Monday by IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy.

Last year, the US created 19.9 per cent of world manufacturing output, compared with 18.6 per cent for China, with the US staying ahead despite a steep fall in factory production due to the global recession.

That the US is still top comes as a surprise, since in 2008 – before the slump of the past two years took hold – IHS predicted it would lose pole position in 2009.

However, a relatively resilient US performance kept China in second place, says IHS, which predicts that faster growth in China will deny the US the top spot next year.

The US became the world’s biggest manufacturer in the late 1890s, edging the then-incumbent – Britain – into the number two position.

Hal Sirkin, head of the global operations practice at Chicago-based Boston Consulting Group, said the US should not despair too much at the likelihood that it would lose the global crown in manufacturing to China.

“If you have a country with four times the population of the US and a tenth of the wages, it is fairly obvious they will pull ahead at some time in productive capabilities,“ he said.

Last year, according to IHS, goods output by the US totalled $1,717bn, ahead of China at $1,608bn.

However in 2011, on the basis of IHS’s estimates, China’s factory output will come to $1,870bn, a fraction ahead of the projected US figure for the year.

If China does become the world’s biggest manufacturer, it will be a return to the top slot for a nation which – according to economic historians – was the world’s leading country for goods production for more than 1,500 years up until the 1850s, when Britain took over for a brief spell, mainly due to the impetus of the industrial revolution.

The IHS figures are worked out on the basis of current-year output numbers, translated into dollars, with no adjustments for inflation. If the figures are calculated in inflation-adjusted, constant price terms, then I HS believes that the US will keep its top role in manufacturing for a little longer.

On an inflation-adjusted basis, which is based on a forecast that US inflation will be lower than that in China over the next few years, China is forecast to take over the number one position in manufacturing in 2013-14.

According to the IHS numbers, world manufacturing output last year came to $8,638bn (€6,979bn, £5,825bn) or 16.7 per cent of global gross domestic product.

Russian President: New World Order with new Global Currency

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
June 19, 2010

As many other puppet presidents have done it before, Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev is taking his opportunity to call for a new world

Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev

order and to push the Russian currency up, as the new reserve paper.  “What had seemed untouchable has collapsed. The bubbles that created the illusion of flourishing economies have burst,” said the Russian president in St Petersburg.  As he opened Russia’s annual economic forum, Medvedev said the times when western corporations dominated the economy had ended and the new interest in Russia was a sign that the world was changing.

“For Russia this situation is a challenge and an opportunity.  And we should use it to build a modern, flourishing and strong Russia … which will be a co-founder of the new world economic order.” he added.  Talking in front of many businessmen from around the world, the Russia leader followed the steps of other governments and presidents as well as of non-governmental institutions.  In the past, George H.W. Bush, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama, among others, have called for the formation of a new world order.  In fact, all those leaders have cited the creation of a centralized global entity as the only way to cure the many illnesses the world suffers from today.

Together with governments, there are supranational institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and their respective leaders, who have echoed the same calls for the creation of a new global order.  This order would have the power, will amass the resources of the planet and will decide how to use them.  The plan also includes the creation of a single monetary policy to which all countries will have to submit to.  The adherence to such policy will enable the countries to receive loans and aid packages that will make them more dependent on the foreign centralized organization, and less dependent on their own Constitutions and laws.  In fact, in the world seen through the eyes of people like Medvedev and the other power men, there is no need for nationality, sovereignty or identity.

Russia has already taken significant steps to aid the lifeline of the new world order -which has existed for many years now-.  The country will introduce a policy of zero taxation on capital gains which will indeed allow the free flow of monies in and out of, much like it happens in corrupt countries where this policy aides and enables money laundering through the banking system.  This would transform Russia into the new United States when it comes to moving large amounts of money coming from all places -drug trade, arms trade, slave trade- to circulate and make its way across the world.  Of course Medvedev did not present it like that.  Instead, he said his policy would allow companies working on long-term investments.  Russia, he said, “was improving the legal system to offer better protection for businesses against the long arm of bureaucracy.”  In other words, crime, of the kind recently experienced through Wall Street banks around the world will have a safe heaven in Russia.  What Mr. Medvedev’s words mean is that all the policies that allowed the bankers to suck countries dry of their resources will also exist in the world order he dreams about, where Russia is the new leader and he’s the new Al Capone.  Limits to bureaucracy means zero regulation or a perfect environment for the corporations to run their shady Ponzi schemes.

The Russian president also talked about something that would make any corporate businessman smile, even in the rainiest day.  Russia has completed the process of simplifying migration procedures, so that workers can go in the country; or better, Russia just like China will allow corporations to pay some of the lowest wages to its citizens in exchange for long working days with no benefits and no rights.  Again, it’s clear he did not present it this way.  He said Russia had changed to attract “highly-qualified specialists” from the financial and technology sectors.  “The state should not tear down the apples from the tree of economics,” he said.

Medvedev complemented his speech on a new world order by forcefully attacking the dollar and claiming that it was time for a new reserve currency.  “Only three, five years ago it seemed like a fantasy” to create a new reserve currency. Now we are seriously discussing it.”  He does not seem to be alone in that ride.  It seems China is up to the challenge as well.  In the meantime, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer added his voice to the Russian’s, but from a very different point of view, one that is rarely heard.  He said: “New reserve currencies don’t emerge by fiat. They emerge as countries change.”  A fiat currency is paper or electronic  money that is not backed up by a nation’s industry or production, but by an inflated system of blind trust on what a piece of paper says it is worth.

Apparently, both Russia and China think it is time for the East to drive the world and its markets.  “We really live at a unique time, and we should use it to build a modern, prosperous and strong Russia, a Russia that will be a co-founder of the new world economic order,” he said.  The problem with Medvedev’s vision is that his plan will not work, at least not for as long as he wants.  Although he intends to build something new, better and different, he plans on using the same old policies that brought us to the disaster he so clearly criticizes.  He wants prosperity, a modern economy and a strong Russia, but he wants zero regulation, a centralized dictatorial government and no sovereignty.  Maybe he forgets that Capitalism, the real Capitalism, was born from free independent nations that based their development on the use of their resources to produce quality goods that benefited the world.  Instead, he wants a global economy filled with cheap, slave-made products that need to be changed every few months.  He wants the best workers, but will follow the same old low-paying policies that maintains Asia’s and Latin America’s people in a continuous feudal model of development.

“If the world depended completely on the dollar, the situation would have been more difficult,” Medvedev reminded the audience.  So why does he want a single global currency, then?