Letter: Hold chem makers at fault for harm

Lab technicians work at Amneal Pharmaceuticals' South Yaphank

Lab technicians work at Amneal Pharmaceuticals' South Yaphank plant on Nov.13, 2013. (Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas)

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It is really time for the chemical and polymer industry to be held accountable for the products it produces without any integrity or interest in the consequences ["Microbeads seen as threat to waterways," News, May 15].

No chemical or polymer engineer would be so stupid as to fail to recognize the potential environmental impacts of microbeads. This is becoming a scenario, repeated almost daily, of "now we need to pass legislation to control a substance which never should have been approved in the first place."

Unless a chemical is going to be ingested, the process for getting a chemical or substance approved for use is quite simple. Very little testing is required, and very little supporting evidence is needed. The persistent attitude is that these substances should meet with easy approval and, if they are later found to be an environmental problem, then the government must find a reason why, with taxpayers footing the bill, to ban it.

Every day, chemicals are being manufactured with little or no thought to their environmental safety. This has been going on for way too long. Instead of passing a piece of legislation for each chemical that is found to be offensive (thousands), we should advocate for legislation that holds the manufacturer responsible for substances that end up becoming pollutants.

As an ecologist, I am appalled at the lack of vitriol surrounding this topic. Let's put the horse back in front of the cart!

Christopher Duffner, Hauppauge
 

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