Oh, COME ON! EPA Eliminates Chemical Safety Checks

In 2016, Congress passed legislation requiring the EPA to conduct research on potentially dangerous chemicals. Now the EPA has taken upon itself to set much laxer guidelines than lawmakers initially intended on the kind of research it is willing to do on chemicals.

The big change is that the EPA has decided the only kind of research that is warranted is to look at the harm chemicals cause when they come in direct contact with humans (i.e. someone touches or ingests them.) That policy would exclude examinations of how chemicals can hurt people when they inevitably get into water supplies, the air or seep underground. Considering that that’s how most people actually come in contact with toxic chemicals, it’s rendering these safety verifications pretty damn useless.

Tell Congress to pass a NEW law with explicit instructions to study potential chemical harms when they’re in the water and air.

WHY THE EPA DOESN’T WANT THIS RESEARCH

For officials both inside and outside of the administration, it’s obvious what this narrower scope for chemical research will mean – loosened safety regulations on chemicals. Basically, if there’s not sufficient research to show the health consequences these chemicals can yield when they enter the environment, the EPA will have the excuse to scale back existing regulations as unnecessary.

A few weeks back we learned through an FOIA release that the EPA had deliberately stalled and buried the release of a shocking government study that showed chemicals found in drinking water are damaging in much smaller doses than the legal limits currently set by the EPA. The agency did a favor to chemical companies rather than alerting citizens to this potential health risk.

Evidently, the lesson the EPA took from this debacle is that if the research just simply doesn’t exist in the first place, then it’ll be easier for the agency to make decisions that directly contradict science. So by eliminating the research component where chemicals are tested in water, problem solved!… so long as we’re not considering poisoning unsuspecting Americans to be a problem.

A CHEMICAL INDUSTRY TAKEOVER

Two years ago, Nancy Beck was a senior director at the American Chemistry Council and actively lobbied to water down Congress’s chemical testing. Once the Trump administration took over, they named Beck to be a leader at the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, because who better to keep Americans safe from chemical hazards than a woman who built a career on trying to block chemical regulations?

Last year, Environmental Working Group called Beck “the scariest Trump appointee you’ve never heard of” and it seems like the label is warranted give how she’s chosen to use her position so far. She’s taken a commonsense law and manipulated it to benefit corporations rather than protect consumers.

ASBESTOS

One dangerous substance in particular that’s getting a reprieve from the EPA is asbestos. Despite it being banned in 55 countries and contributing to the deaths of thousands of Americans each year, EPA Director Scott Pruitt called asbestos “100 percent safe.”

Although the EPA will need to approve new construction that uses asbestos, it has determined that tests aren’t necessary on existing asbestos sites anymore. What if it’s a health risk? Better off not finding out, I guess!

TAKE ACTION

Congress shouldn’t be pleased with the EPA’s willful misinterpretation of its law. As Senator Tom Udall explains, “Congress worked hard in bipartisan fashion to reform our nation’s broken chemical safety laws, but Pruitt’s EPA is failing to put the new law to use as intended.”

If a bipartisan effort got it done before, surely a bipartisan effort can get it done again. That’s why we’re signing this petition calling on Congress to pass similar law with more explicit research instructions that the EPA will be unable to ignore.

It’s terribly sad that Congress actually has to force the EPA to do its job to protect the American people, but if that’s what it takes, that’s worthwhile legislation.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

53 comments

JinnySITEISSUES L

We the People vs. We the polluted politicians. For the sake of this planet and all its species.....we must fight to win! Petition signed.

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Angela J
Angela J7 days ago

Thanks

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner7 days ago

Scott Pruitt the terrorist is behind this. Pruitt is hellbent on killing all Americans. Zinke, Pruitt, Trump and the Congress rats have to be designated as national security threats and locked up for the rest of their lives.

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Ann B
Ann B7 days ago

as long as they get their hefty pay checks screw the rest of us!!!!!!

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Tabot T
Tabot T7 days ago

Signed

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R8 days ago

Signed the petition.

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j W
j W8 days ago

Nobody will cry at their funerals.

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Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace9 days ago

I have to ask what good is the EPA now?

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Leo C
Leo C10 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Winn A
Winnie A10 days ago

:-(

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