Investigation Reveals Chemical Industry Ad Buy for Scott Brown Campaign
Brown Not Supporting Key Chemical Reform Legislation
(Boston, MA) As momentum builds in Congress for reforming the nation’s chemical safety laws, advocates linked the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and American Petroleum Institute (API) to ads supporting Senator Scott Brown’s re-election bid in December, 2011 . The funding, funneled through Coalition for American Jobs (CFAJ), was disclosed on the API's most recent 990. The 990 forms filed with the IRS by the CFAJ closely link the API and the ACC with all of the board members of the group including: Cal Dooley (President and CEO of the ACC), Jack Gerrard (President and CEO of the API), Martin Durbin (Executive Vice President of the API), Thomas Gibson (the former SVP for Advocacy for the ACC), and Michael Walls (current VP for Regulatory and Technical Affairs of the ACC).
Despite supporting a similar bill in the Massachusetts Legislature during his tenure as a state senator, Senator Brown is “currently unable to support” the Safe Chemicals Act according to a recent meeting with his aides.
“Senator Brown’s failure to support the Safe Chemicals Act is deeply disappointing to families across Massachusetts looking to him for leadership in protecting children’s and workers’ health,” said Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action New England Director. “With cancer, asthma and other chronic illness on the rise and burdening our families, we expect him to be on the front lines of this battle, not siding with the chemical industry in obstructing progress.”
The Safe Chemicals Act closes the loopholes in and updates the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which allows toxic chemicals on the market without requiring safety testing. Significant peer-reviewed research is mounting on the role toxic chemicals found in common everyday products, like children’s toys and furniture, play in the rising incidence of certain types of cancer, reproductive harm, infertility, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, learning disabilities, and asthma. The Act passed the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee this past July and is co-sponsored by Senator John Kerry and supported by Elizabeth Warren.
In recent national polls 68 percent of respondents support stricter regulation of chemicals used and produced in the United States, with support across all demographic sub-groups, including those typically opposed to government regulation, such as self-described conservatives (54 percent) and tea party supporters (51 percent).
Parents and health professionals across the state have met with Senator Brown’s staff repeatedly to urge support for these reforms.
“Updating our chemical safety laws is a vital, common sense public health priority. By taking this step, we could wipe out a portion of the cancer epidemic in this country by reducing exposure to known and suspected cancer-causing chemicals,” said Dick Clapp, DSc, MPH, leading cancer epidemiologist. “This is particularly critical for vulnerable populations including pregnant women, young children and workers.”
"One of my top priorities as a mother is keeping my children safe," said Lori Alper, Boston mother of 3 and leading eco-health consultant at Groovy Green Livin. "When toxic chemicals are allowed in children's products like back-to-school supplies, our children are at risk. The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to keep our kids safe. We need bi-partisan support to update our failed chemical safety laws and I urge Senator Brown to re-think his position."