EPA indefinitely delays bans on 3 deadly chemicals

An apt slogan for Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency might read, “your safety is not our immediate concern.” The EPA has indefinitely postponed the previously announced proposed bans on uses of three toxic chemicals. In the EPA’s recent “Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,” the prohibitions were quietly dropped down to a “long-term action” category—without a deadline. In more blunt terms, “long-term action” is where Pruitt sends safeguards to die. The proposed bans, which were expected to be finalized in 2018, target three toxic solvents commonly found in hardware stores. The first, methylene chloride, creates fumes that can overcome people stripping paint, and has resulted in at least 56 deaths since 1980. Second is trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser (also used in dry cleaning) that’s been deemed a human carcinogen by the EPA. The third, the paint thinner N-methylpyrrolidone, is a developmental toxin. When questioned, a chemical industry representative described the rollback as “exactly what we asked for.” Of that, we have no doubt.

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