The agency recently finalized two flawed, industry-friendly rules for evaluating the risks of chemicals on our health and the environment.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is meant to keep us safe by requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the potential hazards that chemicals could pose to our health and the environment. But, with Scott Pruitt at its helm, the agency is once again trying to skirt the law and dole out favors to its industry friends.
At the end of June, the EPA issued a set of rules that would make it easier to ignore chemical risks and disregard harmful exposures. They introduce loopholes that would give the agency the power to pick and choose which uses of a chemical it will assess. Such an incomplete analysis could lead the EPA to conclude that a chemical doesn’t pose a health or environmental risk when it actually does.
What’s more, TSCA requires the EPA to consider all “intended, known, and reasonably foreseeable use.” So NRDC, along with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and Cape Fear River Watch, has filed a lawsuit challenging the new, weakened rules.
“Most people don’t realize how few protections this country has against toxic chemicals,” says Daniel Rosenberg, a senior attorney in NRDC’s Health & Environment program. “These rules would make it harder to keep people safe. The EPA’s toxics office is now headed by a former top official for the chemical industry’s lobbying group. So it’s no surprise the agency is creating loopholes for chemical companies. We’re suing to hold the agency to its mission of protecting the public.”