Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CPSIA - AAP's Campaign of Lies on CPSIA Amendment (ECADA) Continues

Not quite out of town yet, Cindy Pelligrini and her AAP associate have promulgated another letter today with more lies and misstatements about lead and the CPSIA.

It is worth observing that there is no doubt, and never has been any doubt, that lead is a neurotoxin and is capable to harming children.  I think that's a given.  The AAP letter gives considerable air time to remaking this point over and over again.  Got it, thanks.  What the AAP cannot do, and never has done, is prove a LINK between the presence of lead-in-substrate in children's products (shoes, educational products, books, ATVs, pens, bikes, t-shirts, shoes and so on) with actual injuries.  Nada, nothing.  Instead, they emphasize the "danger", sometimes lapsing into fantastic arguments calculating "losses" based on assumed and undocumented injuries, but NEVER do they address the subject of causation or nexus.

A good example of AAP tall tales is from their May 11 letter:

"The potential impact of lead in children’s products is real.  For example, in 2007 and 2008, over 9.8 million pieces of children’s toy jewelry were recalled for excessive levels of lead.  If just one-half of one percent of these items caused lead exposure in a child, 49,000 children would have been affected.  If each of those children lost one IQ point – which can occur at levels of exposure below 100 parts per million – the economic burden of that lead exposure would be at least $409 million just in lost lifetime income. Health economists estimate that every time average blood lead level increases by a small amount across the children born in any given year, $7.5 billion is lost in potential earnings for those children."

But the AAP cannot deliver up even one such victim.  All such calculations are therefore pure fantasy.  Or should I say pure ignominy?

Today's letter is no better.  See below with my annotations in red.:

May 24, 2011

The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mary Bono Mack
Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairwoman Bono Mack:

As experts in the field of pediatrics, environmental health, and toxics, we would like to express our deep concern over the consideration of legislation that would have the effect of permitting more lead in toys and children’s products. [This is a LIE - ECADA does not permit "more lead in toys and children's products".]

Lead is a potent toxicant that can have a range of adverse effects on children’s brains and bodies. Low lead levels cause a wide array of negative effects, including cognitive, motor, behavioral, and physical harm. Even at very low levels, lead has been demonstrated to cause the loss of IQ points in children. [AAP citations call into question cause and effect, noting the many factors involved including self-selection.] Children with elevated blood lead levels are more likely to experience attention deficit and reading disabilities, and to fail to graduate from high school.  [They are also more likely to live in poverty, in older housing, in inner cities and eat paint chips.]  Researchers have identified associations between lead exposure and increased aggression, commission of crime and antisocial or delinquent behaviors.  [Ditto]  Other effects include abnormal balance, poor eye-hand coordination, longer reaction times, and sleep disturbances. At high levels, lead can be fatal. [Can the AAP show me an example of ONE CHILD who died or was injured from lead-in-substrate EVER?  Apparently not - four Congressman tried to get the same information during the April 7th House hearing without success.]  Lead accumulates in the human body and is stored in the bone, so multiple low-level doses can quickly result in harmful levels. For all of these reasons, our nation has for decades pursued a multi-faceted strategy of reducing children’s exposure to lead from all sources, including air, paint, soil, food, water, and the full range of consumer products. [The AAP cites a CDC publication in their May 11 letter on lead in which the CDC points to lead in paint, interior dust, exterior dust and dirt and lead in tap water.] To date, science has not been able to identify any safe level of lead exposure for children.

In 2008, Congress passed legislation that recognized the devastating effects of lead on children’s health and strictly limited lead content in toys and other children’s products. The Consumer Product Safety improvement Act protected children up to the age of 12, thereby covering the full period in which the vast majority of children will experience both rapid brain growth and the behaviors that increase lead exposure. [Human factors experts at the CPSC have long acknowledged that mouthing behavior ends at about age three.  Mouthing behavior over age three is unusual and considered age-inappropriate, meaning that it is the responsibility of parents and caretakers to monitor and manage such behaviors to the extent they occur.]  The law also phased in limits on lead content, with the final stage of that limit scheduled to take effect this August. That restriction of no more than 100 parts per million of lead in children’s products is expected to all but eliminate the possibility that exposure to a single product could cause the loss of one IQ point. [The AAP's assertion that there is a "possibility" of a loss of an IQ point from an interaction with lead-in-substrate in a children's product is purely conjectural and without basis in fact.  Their persistence in advancing this argument without proof must be considered evidence of an intent to deceive.]  These provisions represent critically important protections for children’s health and are a vital component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce lead exposure from all sources.

[Interestingly, neither the CDC nor the EPA take this position.  In fact, the EPA notes:  "First and foremost, the Agency faces the difficulty of determining the level at which to set the standards given the uncertainties in information on cause and effect--what environmental levels in which specific medium may actually cause particular blood lead levels that are associated with adverse health effects. The Agency has tools, which are only generally consistent, that show that certain increases in environmental lead levels are associated with certain increases in blood lead levels. Given the range of uncertainty shown in its analysis supporting the establishment of a hazard level under this rule, EPA has developed a technical analysis that considers hazard standards for dust and soil at the lowest levels at which the analysis shows that across-the-board abatement on a national level could be justified. EPA recognizes, however that for any levels of lead in dust or soil judgment must be exercised as to how to treat the medium, and interim controls as well as abatement could be effective. . . . Thus, if EPA were to choose standards that are too low, the public could be unable to distinguish between trivial risks at the low levels of lead from the more serious risks at higher levels. This could result in clean up for little to no health benefit, or conversely, it could result in almost no clean up because persons would question the credibility of the ‘hazard' determination."]

Given the extreme difficulty or impossibility of eliminating children’s exposure to lead in our air, soil, water and food, it becomes even more imperative to limit lead from those exposures we can control, such as children’s products. [Having never provided any nexus between trace levels of bound-in, insoluble lead-in-substrate in children's products and any known health risk, this sentence is either a lie or intentionally misleading.  The AAP could resolve all such matters in its favor if it ever proved its case.  Over the past four years, it has failed to do so.]  We urge you to maintain strict limits on lead in all parts of toys and products meant for children up to the age of 12 years.

Signed by 100 "experts"

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