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COALITION FOR SAFE CERAMICWARE URGES CONGRESS AND FDA TO ENFORCE CURRENT LEAD STANDARDS -- NOT TO 'PUT POLITICS ABOVE SCIENCE'

 COALITION FOR SAFE CERAMICWARE URGES CONGRESS AND FDA TO ENFORCE
 CURRENT LEAD STANDARDS -- NOT TO 'PUT POLITICS ABOVE SCIENCE'
 WASHINGTON, March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Safe Ceramicware, an organization of the world's leading manufacturers of fine china, today urged aggressive enforcement of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for lead release from ceramic products -- standards met by the products of Coalition members but not by improperly made "craftware" and other lesser quality products.
 In testimony before the Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Consumer and Environmental Affairs, Coalition Executive Director David A. Hartquist told senators that recent sharp reductions in FDA action levels for lead in ceramicware have put in place standards that are more than sufficient to protect public health. "The attention of Congress and the agency should now focus on ways to ensure that these standards are properly enforced," Hartquist said.
 Hartquist said the Coalition was confident that the products of the organization's members are in full compliance with, and generally well below, the new FDA limits. He noted, however, that there are many examples of "craftware," generally purchased outside the United States, and of commercially produced ceramic tableware from certain countries -- China, in particular -- which fail to meet even the old standards by wide margins. Hartquist said that enforcement efforts should focus on these products.
 Hartquist addressed concerns which have been raised by groups like California's Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that current lead release standards are inadequate. "The suggestion that even FDA's new standards are inadequate when judged by the so-called 'California standard' is very misleading. The State of California's safety standards for ceramic tableware are identical to FDA's. In fact, California law explicitly adopts FDA's standards as its own." Hartquist noted that California's Proposition 65, which has resulted in ceramic makers posting notices in California stores, is not a safety standard.
 Under Proposition 65 regulations, a notice must be given to California consumers whenever their use of a product is likely to expose them to even trace amounts of certain substances. In fact, in the case of lead, the notice must be given whenever a person is exposed to more than one half of one one-millionth (0.0000005) of a gram per day. Under California law this level is one thousand times below the level at which there is any effect on human health. "There is absolutely no scientific basis for viewing this threshold as the basis for a credible safety standard for lead in ceramic tableware," Hartquist said. "To seek to impose this standard would be to place politics above science, and that's not in the public interest."
 Adoption of a thousand-fold factor similar to that reflected in Proposition 65 is unprecedented anywhere in health or environmental science. "Safety factors of 10 or 100 are common, but a factor of 1,000 is unjustified by any principle of risk analysis where human data are available," Hartquist said. California state law fully permits all ceramic tableware products in compliance with FDA's action levels to be freely sold in the state. While the Proposition 65 standard is not a safety standard, Hartquist noted that more than 600 ceramicware patterns manufactured by Coalition members were in compliance with Proposition 65 standards. And, the vast majority of those patterns above the Proposition 65 thresholds were only marginally so, and more importantly, they are only a small fraction of the FDA limits.
 Hartquist underscored that the new FDA standards -- standards met by the products of Coalition members -- are extremely rigorous, and ceramicware manufacturers must maintain average lead release levels that are only a fraction -- as little as one-fifth or less -- of the legally proscribed FDA limit in order to accommodate manufacturing variations. "This additional margin of safety provides a significant measure of added protection to consumers," Hartquist said.
 For copies of the Coalition for Safe Ceramicware's written and oral testimony, see contact below.
 -0- 3/27/92
 /CONTACT: Gus Weill, 212-704-8242, for the Coalition for Safe Ceramicware/ CO: Coalition for Safe Ceramicware ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


PS -- NY006 -- 2257 03/27/92 09:00 EST
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Date:Mar 27, 1992
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