June 10, 2011: Markey Statement on HHS Report on Carcinogens

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today issued the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added eight substances to its “Report on Carcinogens”, a Congressionally-mandated science-based document that identifies chemicals and biological agents that may put people at increased risk for cancer. The latest version of the report now lists 240 substances.

This report makes available and transparent the most recent science regarding cancer hazards, and I commend HHS for following the science that has been accepted for years by other countries. Underscoring the critical connection between our nation’s health and the chemicals we are exposed to in our homes, offices and other environments, this report is a comprehensive and reliable document that should be used by other federal agencies when making decisions to protect public health. The scariest ‘Super 8’ isn’t in movie theaters, it’s the Super 8 carcinogens found on this list,” said Rep. Markey.

One of the chemicals discussed in the report, formaldehyde, is present in high concentrations in certain hair straighteners and poses a serious hazard to the health and safety of hair salon patrons and workers. I have called for a voluntary recall of these carcinogenic hair straightening products and will continue to monitor the use of formaldehyde as well as the presence of other toxic chemicals in our environment and the products we use everyday.

Rep. Markey recently introduced H.R. 432, the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, to prohibit the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in all food and beverage containers. Research has found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages and has been linked to cancer, reproductive dysfunction and heart disease. Additionally, Rep. Markey has called on the federal government to ban the chemical triclosan in consumer soaps, products intended to come into contact with food, and products marketed to children. Triclosan has been found to interfere with the body’s thyroid hormone, which is important for brain development and function, particularly in children.