I'm tired. Bored at one level too. I've not been adding much detail to this site for a while now mainly because there's not a lot of point. The basic issue remains the same: the UK government is colluding with big business to ensure profits remain high at the expense of consumers' health and the environment. And related to this, the UK government is covering up the truth about the toxicity of the Grenfell fire and the enormous daily pollution taking place from the country's incinerators totally in breach of the Stockholm Convention.
I took out a whistle-blowing case about this which the government hoped would go away and when it wouldn't lied about the work they'd done on it and concluded that I didn't have a case, even though they produced nothing by way of proof for this decision. And they have done nothing since the Environmental Audit Committee in 2019 agreed with my case, directing the government to put things right straight away. They haven't of course, partly to protect those massive industry profits and partly because – as their officials have admitted behind closed doors – if they do so, then they're revealing that the fire safety regulations concerned do not work and have never worked.
They just keep lying instead. For example, a few weeks ago, Gisela Mann of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, gave an update on the review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 to the All Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group. I asked a couple of questions which the Chair missed (on Zoom) but sent to the OPSS subsequently for an answer.
Here's one of my questions:
“Despite in Feb 2020 unanimous stakeholder support for removing children's products from the scope of the furniture regulations – also recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee in 2019 - your technical experts panel recently advised you that more research needs to be done on this subject first: what is this research exactly, when will it be done and by whom”?
And here's Gisela Mann's answer:
"The Government has committed that, in developing the new approach, it would review the status of baby and children's products within the scope of the regulations. We are in the process of developing an evidence based approach to inform this policy decision including commissioning research as recommended by independent scientific experts. A recent Invitation to Tender for research can be found here with contract currently in process of assessing the bids. As with all government funded research, the final report will be published once the research has been completed."
I don't need to point out that she hasn't answered the question. But I might need to say a bit more about the "independent scientific experts" she says are on the job. This 'technical panel' was put together by the government without any invitations for relevant people to apply. Ten out of the eleven appointed have close links with the flame retardant industry, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the UK poisoning children while they sleep. The OPSS/BEIS was criticised for this by other government departments but instead of putting the matter right, they spend a lot of time and money trying to find out who'd leaked the details of the committee. Well, I leaked them, and will do so again here (contact me if you'd like my notes on each member's connection with the flame retardant industry. By the way, it probably won't surprise you but the OPSS received quite a bit of feedback on this committee from those OGDs, pointing out a) too many industry supporters and 2) recommending experts with less vested interests - but it was all ignored by the OPSS). The tender that Mann links to is nothing to do with the question of removing children's products from scope by the way. It's a tender for someone to research if there are any problems with flame retardants. Which is odd, to say the least, when BEIS's consultation document in 2014 provided dozens of links to many problems with FRs. In addition, since 2014, the USA has introduced new federal law that bans FRs from furniture; the EU has confirmed its stance against FRs in furniture; the EAC recommended they should be removed from UK furniture, particularly children's products, i.e. nothing has appeared that would indicated BEIS got it wrong 7 years ago in putting forward proposals to hugely reduce FRs. Delaying tactic? Well, BEIS has plenty of previous in that respect (see details elsewhere on this site).
Mann has also elsewhere claimed that the technical experts panel decided that more research needs to be done before they can make a decision on removing poisons from children's products. I therefore also asked the follow-up question:
"At the Chemical Stakeholder Forum in February this year, OPSS gave a presentation on the Furniture Regulations. One slide titled "Summary of Work" stated: "Some areas of concern over baby products and other products which was agreed should be addressed by commissioning further research. A follow up meeting with these experts is planned once the research has been completed." Please specify what exactly is included in this "further research" regarding baby products. Also what exactly is meant by "areas of concern", i.e. list the specific areas of research the experts highlighted, and the specific areas of concern. When will a note of this meeting be made publicly available?"
Here's Mann's answer:
"We believe that we have answered your . . . question[s] previously."
And that's why I'm tired and bored. Here we have a government official who is very well paid from public money to protect the consumer but who when asked for details tells you that she's already answered you when she clearly hasn't. This is mendacity and it's corruption. I'm sure Ms Mann has sufficient cognitive dissonance to not lose any sleep over the fact that she is just a tool for the chemical industry and would probably be horrified to think she is partly/mainly responsible for poisoning millions of children and contributing significantly to the fact that firefighters suffer far higher levels of cancer than is normal. But she is.
Her two recent presentations told the audience that the furniture regulations provide fire safety. This is a lie, because her own Department proved 7 years ago that they don't. But every time she or her colleagues such as Sarah Smith or Debra Mcleod are asked this question, they never answer other than to say the regulations are being reviewed. They put the same lie in the mouth of their Minister when she was challenged on the same point by Mary Creagh, Chair of the EAC, in 2019.
Mann, by the way, is also on the British Standards Insitute committee, FW/6, that has been tasked by BEIS to come up with new fire safety standards for the new furniture regulations. And she is playing a big part in ensuring that no one with negative views about flame retardants gets a place on that committee.
Let's be clear about this: the government in the form of BEIS and as actioned by Gisela Mann and her boss, Graham Russell (the man who literally shoved me aside and ran out of the room at the EAC when I tried to ask him a question) is ensuring that the two committees it has set up or commissioned to come up with new fire safety requirements that will affect the health of every person in the country, are packed with supporters of the industries that make a fat profit from regulations that are not even fit for purpose.
How do the likes of Mann sleep at night? Well, hopefully not like a baby because that could mean she's at risk of some serious health issues.