Good morning and I thank Chairman Brown for working with me and my staff on this very important issue. I thank all of our witnesses for being here today, and I'm looking very much forward to your testimony.
We're here today to learn about the report on carcinogens and the impact it has on small businesses across America.
According to the national toxicology program, this report is intended to be a science-based public health communication tool; however the report on carcinogens has been used by federal and state agencies as a regulatory document, using its listing of substances as a basis for regulatory and legislative action.
Each year small businesses, with less than 20 employees, are burdened with compliance regulations that cost them 36 percent more per employee than their larger counterparts.
Despite the economic downturn, the regulatory burden on small businesses continues to grow.
Increasing regulations mean small businesses must dedicate more money, time, and resources by complying with regulations instead of doing what they do best: creating jobs and innovating new products.
The federal government has an important duty in researching and identifying substances that could cause harm and hazards in the public health. But at the same time our government must recognize the adverse consequences of requiring businesses to call a substance a human carcinogen without definite evidence.
It is irresponsible and could lead to unnecessary strain for small businesses.
The regulatory uncertainty this is causing has already resulted in small businesses delaying the hiring of new employees and is causing many small businesses to hold off on making important investment decisions.
Scientists, small businesses, and their representatives are now raising concerns about the quality of this analysis and the process used to list these substances in the report on carcinogens. Specifically, questions have been raised regarding the peer review process.
Reports have shown that this process has failed to meet the independent and objective standards that would justify the overbearing burdens being placed on local economies and businesses, not to mention the insufficient public comment procedures that remain lacking.
The report on carcinogens was originally mandated by Congress in 1978 to help aid the research in and prevention of many cancers. Although there have been many major breakthroughs in the scientific understanding of cancers and it's causes, the process that the national toxicology program currently uses to identify carcinogens has not kept up with the pace of scientific developments, despite warnings that the national toxicology program review process for the report must be improved.
There are new concerns that the process for the next report has made only minor substantive changes and is merely a rearranging of the deck chairs. Small businesses continue to fear the ramifications of this report.
When the government publishes scientific information that negatively impacts private businesses, the government has the duty and responsibility to insure the information of this product and an objective in scientific sound process. Again,
I want to thank each one of our witnesses today for their participation, as well as Chairman Brown and the science committee for hosting us today.
I look forward to working with all of you on this very important issue. Mister chairman, I would like to take a moment to say that I have included one letter from a small business in my district, as well as a letter to the Office of Advocacy November 22, 2011, to the letter of the Department of Health and Human Services as part of my opening statement for the record.