Deirdre Imus is the co-founder/co-director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer in New Mexico, as well as the President and Founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Also participating in the news conference was Kathi Salley-Randall, RN, a neonatal intensive care nurse practitioner, who was representing the Breast Cancer Fund, Dr. Laura Welch, the Medical Director for the Center for Protection of Workers' Rights, also representing the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), and Dr. Catherine Thomasson, the Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Senator Boxer said: "I am so proud to have stood with these four women today who are fighting to protect our children and families from the dangers of toxic chemicals. Momentum is building to fix S. 697, the Udall-Vitter toxic chemicals bill, which is expected to come up for a committee vote next week. I am hopeful that the Members of the EPW Committee who I have tasked with fixing the Udall-Vitter bill will get results.
"S. 697 is worse than current law. First, as currently drafted the Udall-Vitter bill provides for the assessment of only 25 dangerous chemicals out of the 80,000 in existence today. Second, it eviscerates states' rights to act to protect their people from toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. Third, it does nothing to specifically address children's cancer clusters or asbestos. The bill does not even mention the word asbestos, and experts say that regulation of asbestos under the Udall-Vitter bill will never happen."
WATCH the video of today's press conference here.
During the press conference, Deirdre Imus said: "I stand here in...vigorous opposition to the Udall-Vitter sellout to the chemical industry. We all understand that the Udall-Vitter legislation is an irresponsible prescription for disaster."
Kathi Salley-Randall, RN and a founding member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, said: "Will we really fix this broken system and protect the public from toxic chemicals? Or, will we pass a bill that further hampers the EPA from regulating toxic chemicals and ties the hands of states trying to protect their citizens? Unfortunately, the Udall/Vitter bill falls squarely into that second category and makes a bad situation worse. It does nothing to reduce our daughters, sisters, and mothers' exposure to chemicals that increase the chances of breast cancer or to protect precious newborns."
Laurie Welch, Medical Director for the Center for Protection of Workers' Rights, said: "TSCA is an important law, and needs to be strengthened and improved. Ensuring asbestos is banned will protect children and other vulnerable populations from cancer caused by asbestos. The Vitter-Udall bill should not move forward without including this ban."
Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director for Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), said: "[U]nfortunately, [the Udall-Vitter bill] falls short in critical areas and places industry's interests over the safety and health of our communities."