Those damn evil republicns
A group of Democrats complain Styrofoam cups in the House cafeteria could contain carcinogens.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and other Republican leaders, the nine Democrats say the Styrofoam cups and other dining materials could hold chemical components that could cause cancer. The Democrats are upset with the switch to Styrofoam from recyclable materials put into place when Democrats ran the House.
The letter asks Boehner to reconsider the switch away from recyclable to polystyrene-based foam containers, and warns that the health of visitors to the Capitol could be compromised.
"The irresponsibility of the decision to use polystyrene foam without considering other options is all the more egregious because the cafeteria is not merely used by House members and our staffers," the lawmakers write. "The health of constituents and visitors to the Hill who eat in the cafeteria will be impacted by this short-sighted decision."
The change to Styrofoam caused a stir among some staffers and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill late last month, when the recyclable material preferred by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was replaced. Lawmakers mostly raised concerns about Styrofoam's impact on the environment.
Republicans have downplayed the harmful health and environmental effects of Styrofoam and said that the composting program in place under Pelosi cost too much money and did not do enough to bring down energy consumption.
But the Democratic letter cited toxicology studies that claim polystyrene contains "possible human carcinogens" and could present other health challenges, such as headaches, hearing loss, central nervous system dysfunction and difficulty sleeping.
"Eliminating polystyrene-related health impacts will result in fewer lost work days and lower heath insurance costs for the House and its staff," the lawmakers write. "This benefit alone should outweigh any cost savings from using polystyrene containers."
The "Dear Colleague" notice soliciting signatures from other lawmakers, which was circulated by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), is titled "Cancer Causing Cups in the Cafeteria?"
The other lawmakers who signed the letter are Reps. James Moran (D-Va.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
Here is the full letter from the nine Democrats:
March 11, 2011
Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Chairman Lungren:
We are writing to express our deep concern with the current choice to use polystyrene products, commonly known as “styrofoam,” in the House of Representatives cafeterias. While we appreciate that the CAO is working to reduce costs, there are significant health and environmental risks associated with styrofoam, as well as additional costs associated with increased waste removal. These external costs should be considered in making the decision for cafeteria products; the desire to save a few pennies should never come at the expense of jeopardizing staff, members and visitors’ health. Over 20 years ago, McDonalds and other fast food restaurants replaced polystyrene foam with recyclable and paperboard containers. More than 100 cities have also chosen to ban polystyrene foam for health and environmental reasons. Adopting the same standard is the least we can do.
We have numerous concerns about the safety of polystyrene foam products. Polystyrene foam products can leach their component chemicals into the foods and liquids they contain. Leaching of styrene and benzene is documented with nearly 40 years of scientific evidence, as are the resulting negative health impacts. During the manufacturing process, acute short-term exposure to styrene can result in irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and mucous membranes as well as gastrointestinal effects.
Over time, exposure to the styrene that leaches into food and liquids can cause extensive health effects, including fatigue, headaches, hearing loss, central nervous system dysfunction, difficulty sleeping, as well as low platelet and hemoglobin values and chromosomal abnormalities. The International Association for Research on Cancer classified styrene as a potential human carcinogen. Eliminating polystyrene-related health impacts will result in fewer lost work days and lower heath insurance costs for the House and its staff. This benefit alone should outweigh any cost savings from using polystyrene containers.
Polystyrene foam products continue to threaten public health and the environment after the
Answer by Anonymous at 1:42 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by BandME at 1:45 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by UpSheRises at 1:47 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by gdiamante at 1:47 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
LOL. "For those lawmakers upset about the changes, there may be a compromise solution: walk over to the Senate cafeteria, where the expensive enviro-friendly cups still enjoy the Democratic majority's protection."
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 1:50 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by mommy_jules at 1:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 1:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by soyousay at 1:53 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by FricknFrack at 1:54 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by tnmomofive at 1:56 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
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