Congressman William Owens Takes Action on POPs Exposure Minimization

On February 28, 2013, Congressman William Owens and David O.
Carpenter, MD, Director of the State University of New York’s
University at Albany Institute for Health and the Environment spoke
via conference call about the persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
exposure health hazard as described in the 2010 World Health
Organization (WHO) report titled, “Persistent Organic Pollutants:
Impact on Child Health”.  The conference call was arranged by Cancer
Action NY.  Dr. Carpenter told Congressman Owens that we all have
“dangerous levels of these chemicals (POPs) in our bodies”.  He stated
that the public was very much in the dark about POPs exposure, which
results from the presence of POPs in the animal fats of mainstream
food supply foods, including:  meats, fish, dairy products and eggs.
Dr. Carpenter pointed to several strategies for minimizing POPs
exposure:  (1) education of the general public on the subject of POPs
exposure minimization; (2) prohibiting the feeding of waste animal
fats to food animals; and (3) establishing more strict standards for
levels of POPs in foods.

Upon hearing of Dr. Carpenter’s concerns and the measures that could
be employed to address the problem, Congressman Owens took the
position that providing the public with information on the subjects of
POPs exposure and health risks was the most feasible action that could
be taken.  He used the phrase, “transparency of information” in
speaking of the need for consumers to know what man-made toxic
chemicals were present in food and what health risks were associated
with exposure to these contaminants.

In a letter dated, March 5, 2013, Congressman William Owens wrote to
Dr. Christopher Portier, Director of the National Center for
Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR), sister agencies of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention for the purpose of initiating a dialogue on the subject
of POPs exposure minimization education.  He asked Dr. Portier to
review the WHO report named above and to advise him upon what action
if any was being taken to address the matters raised in this report.
Congressman Owens said in his letter, “If no action is being taken,
what stands in the way of making the public aware of these concerns?
I think the issue here is whether or not the information about POPs is
made known to the public so individuals can make informed decisions
they make about the food products they select to purchase and

Congressman Owens is clearly a member of government who is interested
in using scientific knowledge to protect public health.  Congressman
Owens shows himself to possess much strength of character in taking
this leadership role in POPs exposure minimization.  Honor to
Congressman William Owens.