THE BLOG

Protecting the Public Is Not a Hobby

03/20/2015 04:55 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2015

If anyone saw the hearing to review Senate resolution S.697, an attempt to reauthorize and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act. The idea that this is a "modernization" of the act more accurately reads like a promotional piece from any of the big chemical companies. And it should -- it serves them very well.

I have to believe most private citizens would be disappointed. As I watched the proceedings, I could not help but think some were treating this issue as if it were a hobby rather than a pressing duty to protect the public. Certainly these folks have all suffered losses, but I am not sure they understand the connection between some of these harmful chemicals and human health.

Since founding Less Cancer, the one thing I have learned is that countless people, just like me, have had devastating losses from cancer, losing both family and friends.

I understand that anyone who has had these types of losses, like myself, wants two things. One, they want their loved ones back (impossible); and two, they want never to have to relive the cancer journey with someone they love.

When there is an opportunity to reduce a risk to human health -- and, in some cases, even reduce the risk for cancer -- why in the world would we not all be on board? For me, this "modernized" legislation provides archaic tools for an untenable war.

As I watched the hearing, I was bewildered as to why even one person would think this legislation is a good idea.

Despite increasing incidences of cancer, our elected officials have placed greater importance on a show of bipartisanship than on protecting the public. As if one were a trade-off for the other!

Anyone who seems to challenge this draft of chemical reform legislation gets the response, "But this is bipartisan!" However, bipartisanship is a moot point if the legislation does not protect the public from harm.

The latest version of this "modernized" legislation is so convoluted, complicated, and misguided that if it were not such a serious issue it would be laughable.

However, cancer is not laughable -- it is devastating, and I am disgusted that this particular legislation is being sold as something that would protect the public. This legislation protects the chemical industry and does not address the urgency of protecting the public's health or acknowledge the national economic burden chemicals continue to cause. Even those who aren't interested in protecting the public's health should be interested in protecting their own wallets. The only winners in this legislation are the chemical companies.

I am not a lawyer or a politician -- I am just a guy who wants what many want: Less Cancer. When I see missed opportunities to slow the increasing incidence of cancer, I get frustrated at the ego and greed that trump legislators' duty to protect the public.

This proposed legislation prevents the opportunity for more eyeballs outside of Washington, in all states, to have a leadership role in protecting their citizens from harmful chemicals. This draft of the legislation puts everything under the roof of the EPA and essentially blocks states from protecting their citizens -- at a time when many are looking to defund the EPA.

I cannot encourage people enough to pay very close attention to this legislation. The time is now for lawmakers to ensure they are doing all they can to protect you and your families from the continued health hazards and economic burden of harmful chemicals in the United States.