By Glenn E. Schweitzer
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Extra resources for Borrowed Earth, Borrowed Time: Healing America’s Chemical Wounds
Every state has general environmental legislation which encompasses chemicals, and several have special legislation to limit toxic chemical releases into the environment. Hundreds of general regulations are now in effect, and hundreds of thousands of regulatory permits have been issued to individual facilities for controlling discharges of chemicals. The country has taken great strides in developing the procedural framework for controlling chemicals during the 199Os. Many institutions have responded to chemical problems in a number of ways.
Thus, they had no basis for predicting how many cattle would have to be destroyed at different levels of safety. Also, neither Dow nor the state agencies would indicate the extent of economic relief, if any, wh ich they would provide the farmers until the EPA established the action level. Finally, farmers always display remarkable ingenuity in cutting their financial los ses when faced with economic disasters. 5 ppm was the appropriate level. Two considerations were pivotal in selecting this number.
1O Environmental groups contend that many chemicals identified in the early 1970s as being environmental hazards should have been limited long ago-some dyes, plastics, solvents, and heavy metals, for example. Others argue that on close examination the alleged hazards of the 1970s were overstated and that there has been no need to take more aggressive action to restrict large numbers of chemicals which have been safely handled for decades. While the debate will continue as to whether some of the common chemicals which have been used for many years pose a health or environmental threat, the EPA sorely needs to give higher priority to its efforts to screen the potential hazards associated with many existing chemicals.
Borrowed Earth, Borrowed Time: Healing America’s Chemical Wounds by Glenn E. Schweitzer