Do elected officials ever read their e-mail?

October 3, 2012

Editor’s note: The writer sent a copy of a recent e-mail sent to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin expressing the concern whether these messages are ever read by the recipient. This is what was sent to Sen. Durbin:

The following quotes are from a previous message sent from your office, March 20, 2008, regarding product safety. I have great difficulty understanding your apparent silence regarding two current issues of importance to consumers, labeling foods which contain GMO ingredients, and the testing of new chemicals added to consumer goods.

“On March 6, 2008, the Senate passed the CPSC Reform Act, the most significant improvement in consumer product safety in 18 years. I cosponsored this legislation, and many of its provisions were contained in a bill I introduced last July. This bipartisan measure will significantly increase funding for the CPSC and provide the agency with the authority it needs to better protect American consumers.

“Product testing and labeling are crucial to ensuring that consumers are assured that the products they buy are safe. Under the CPSC Reform Act, retailers will be required to label children’s products with tracking information that allows the rapid identification of recalled products. All children’s products also will be required to undergo third-party testing.”

It appears that, as with the tobacco industry’s defense of their products’ safety, our elected officials have chosen to side with their campaign funders against the wishes of the consumers.

While people continue to have their lives affected by the chemical soup supplied by industry, our government continues to study rather than act. I do not fault those in government working on solutions but those numerous political appointees who dictate policy.

Richard Kanak
Cherry Valley, Ill.

From the Oct. 3-9, 2012, issue

One Comment

  1. Paul Gorski

    October 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Mr. Kanak,

    The US Food and Drug Administration was given the authority to regulate tobacco only as recently as 2009.

    While neither considered a food or drug, the FDA was given authority to regulate tobacco under the “The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act ” (the FSPTC Act). You may find the act here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ31/pdf/PLAW-111publ31.pdf .

    Unfortunately I do not believe tobacco falls under the CPSC Reform Act labeling or chemical testing requirements as the law you mentioned was passed before the FDA had jurisdiction over tobacco.

    You might suggest amendments to both the CPSC Reform Act and the FSPTC Act to specifically include tobacco labeling and chemical testing requirements.

    If you’d like, I’d be glad to co-author a letter to Senator Durbin and to our new congressional representatives, after the November election, suggesting these amendments. If you have specific wording that you would like to include, that would be useful.

    Sincerely,
    Paul Gorski
    paul@paulgorski.com

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