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Denver, CO -- The Trump-Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made it easier to disregard public health by releasing new, watered-down regulations under the 2015 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA, also known as the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act).
“The new EPA rules put the chemical industry’s interests above the interests of American families,” said Kara Cook, U.S. PIRG Toxics Program Director. “This is an alarming departure from the EPA’s original proposal, which did more to protect our health.”
TSCA gives the EPA the power to sort chemicals by “high priority” and “low priority,” and charges the EPA with doing further evaluation and clarification on the high priority chemicals. This allows the EPA to evaluate health threats and determine if the chemicals being used are a risk to public health.
The new EPA rules under TSCA fall short in two ways. First, the EPA will not scientifically consider all uses for a chemical, only the most likely uses for that chemical. This is a problem because spills and leaks may not be considered in EPA’s evaluation. Also, legacy uses of a chemical will not be considered, even though legacy uses continue to be a problem (examples of legacy uses would be asbestos in old buildings, and lead in old paint).
Second, the rules fall short because the EPA will inform the chemical manufacturer before investigating a particular chemical. This allows the chemical company to object to the investigation and slow down the process before the investigation has even begun.
We are exposed to thousands of chemicals per day, and some of these chemicals are harmful to our health and a risk to our children. U.S. PIRG will continue to encourage the EPA to do its due diligence in protecting us from these chemicals.
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U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.
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