HR 4078 yesterday passed a floor vote in the House, this bill if passed by Congress will shutdown the U.S. regulatory system as we know it. Two other equally hazardous bills are rolled into it, H.R. 4607 and H.R. 3862. Combined, these bills will halt or delay virtually ALL rule making and public health protections and do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy or new job opportunities. They would shut down safeguards that Americans take for granted. This bill will now pass to the Senate and if Congress makes this bill law we will see the following consequences.
The food in grocery stores will become unsafe. Each year, 1.2 million people get sick, 7,125 are hospitalized, and 134 die from foodborne illnesses contracted from contaminated produce. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed with support from both industry and consumer groups, and calls for new regulations on produce handling on large farms and an inspection system for foreign farms to be in place by 2013. Its implementation depends on rulemaking that would be blocked by this bill.
Medical devices will become more unsafe. Tens of millions of Americans including the elderly and children use or have medical devices implanted in their bodies. The bill would block the Food and Drug Administration’s long-awaited rules to ensure all implanted medical devices, (such as artificial hips and implantable heart valves) can be tracked in the event any are found to be unsafe and recalled. This will not happen if the bill becomes law.
The drugs we buy at the pharmacy will be unsafe. Every year 100’s of new drugs come onto the market, if this bill is passed there is no guarantee that these drugs will be rigorously tested before reaching the consumer market. If this bill is passed it would freeze any mandates in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act making the drugs we use potentially dangerous.
The air we breathe will become more unsafe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protects us with rules and safety standards by regulating power plants, industrial boilers, process heaters and cement plants in compliance with the Clean Air Act. These structures blast mercury and toxic air pollutants into our air. If this bill is passed the EPA won’t be able to do its job and we will be breathing air that will have an impact on the respiratory health of millions of Americans including vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children.
Health, safety, and environmental, safeguards make our country stronger and safer – and the public relies on them. The Clean Air Act, The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act and The Food Safety Modernization Act, are only a few of the landmark laws that have improved life in America. If this bill becomes law consumers will no longer be able to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the retail store with any confidence in the products that they are buying are safe. Staples like peanut butter, furniture such as cribs, and toys for babies and toddlers will no longer be guaranteed safe. Essentially this bill will give industry more freedom to pollute and put unsafe products on the market. Rules and the regulatory system are needed to protect our families and our loved ones. This bill should not be passed by Congress, and become a law.
Co-written with Nasima Hossain, Arizona PIRG Federal Public Health Advocate.
Executive Director, Arizona PIRG
Diane E. Brown has worked with the State PIRGs for over 35 years, over half serving as the Executive Director of Arizona PIRG. She is a leader in efforts to protect consumers from unfair marketplace abuses and unsafe products; promote 21st century energy and transportation options; and foster an accessible and accountable government. Diane frequently works with diverse entities; advocates and testifies before elected and governmental officials; and appears on television and radio and in newspapers across the state. Diane’s leadership has helped to secure public interest victories at the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and various state agencies. Diane is a recipient of awards from the Arizona Capitol Times, Phoenix Business Journal, League of Women Voters of Arizona, and Arizona League of Conservation Voters.