Trump Proposal Puts Americans at Greater Risk from Toxic Chemicals

WASHINGTON – President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have determined protecting the public from notorious cancer-causing chemicals like asbestos and 1,4-dioxane is far less important than coddling polluters, said EWG Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Faber.

“Once again, Trump’s EPA has put polluters ahead of public health,” Faber said. “The toxic chemical rules released today by Trump’s EPA are carefully crafted to allow polluters to continue to poison our families with unsafe toxic chemicals. Of course, it’s no surprise that the chemical industry lobbyist now in charge of chemical reviews at the EPA would put corporate profits ahead of battling cancer. By forcing EPA to employ junk science, Trump’s lackeys will ensure that cancer-causing chemicals like 1,4-dioxane and asbestos continue to sicken and kill our friends and families. See you in court, Donald.” 

Faber’s comments come in response to Pruitt’s decision to ignore federal requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was strengthened last year to make the agency account for all uses of a particular chemical when making a risk assessment.

The rules released today instead allow the EPA to only look at a subset of chemical uses when assessing a chemical for safety. This means the agency could ignore potentially dangerous uses – including legacy contamination – and would not have an accurate picture of Americans’ likely exposure to a chemical. That could allow the EPA to underestimate risks like cancer, reproductive harms or neurotoxicity. The law directs the EPA to look at all chemical uses, including unintended but reasonably foreseeable uses.

Trump recently appointed Nancy Beck, a former lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council, to be the EPA’s Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. When working on behalf of the chemical industry, Beck played a key role in drafting its positions on chemical legislation and EPA regulations. Now, she is in the powerful position of overseeing the EPA’s own chemical policy agenda.

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