Monday, April 2, 2007

Is Pat protecting residents or plant owners?

The Hickory Record reported in a January article titled "State scrutinizes furniture foam" that our beloved Congressman is going be all over a state study of hazardous material and its effect on communities. Isn't that nice of him? It's not a federal study, of course. But he's going to make sure the study is all "appropriate and accurate." I feel so protected.
“It is imperative that the scientific methods used to conduct this study are appropriate and accurate,” McHenry said. “I have been assured by the ATSDR that I will receive notification and a complete, up-to-date briefing prior to any testing. I will remain fully engaged and informed as this process moves forward.”
I wonder what he'll do for us if the study concludes that we're breathing toxic air or all the plant's neighborhood kids are dying mysteriously?
Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co.’s Conover plant is one of several plants that will be studied. Officials are looking at the health effects of polyurethane foam, known as TDI, a substance used in furniture and bedding industries.

TDI is considered a hazardous material and is regulated by state and federal agencies. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the Centers for Disease Control, is the federal agency involved. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with them at the state level.
Now, that's real encouraging and sounds cool. The thing is:
Hickory Springs officials and the Polyurethane Foam Association say the study is flawed and could frighten the community.
Yeah and that's the same Polyurethane Foam Association that just figured out, according to their own March 20, 2007 press release that gee, they don't want to have to have their foam products to be expected to pass an open flame test. They need more time to come up with alternatives. If kids die in that time, well, too effing bad, I guess. This is their lameass excuse after spending all their time and money fighting the laws requiring the flame test:
Brominated and chlorinated fire retardants comprise about 90% to 95% of the foam industry's typical fire retardant usage. If necessary, we can eliminate these materials from foam, but the industry needs a transition period for research and development.
So, I'm not sure I'm supposed to care what they think. And I'm not sure what Patrick McHenry thinks he knows about scientific standards but we can all feel safe knowing that he is on the scene.

Let's all pray that of the fraction of plants that still functioning in the 10th district, NONE of them are causing harm to residents. Because we sure as hell don't want to lose the jobs. But we also don't want to lose our health. I wonder if concern for the bank accounts of the plant owners is what has gotten Pat's attention or the health and welfare of neighbors and workers. Since he's all over the science, it doesn't sound encouraging. We'll see.

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