EPA plans to just ignore air, soil, and water pollution in its reviews of chemical safety

According to recently released documents by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA plans to take a narrow view of what makes a chemical unsafe. An Obama-era law requires the agency to newly evaluate hundreds of industrial chemicals, including common households substances within furniture, carpets, household products, and building materials to see if they should be more closely restricted or taken off the market. But in its initial review of 10 chemicals, the EPA only focused on potential harm through direct contact and ignored potentially important sources of exposure, including the air, water, or soil. Such a truncated risk analysis would not account for an estimated 68 million pounds of toxic emissions a year. EPA head Scott Pruitt announced last week that the agency would not consider the risks of the toxic chemical asbestos that's already in the environment. Asbestos, which kills an estimated 15,000 Americans each year, was previously called a mob-led conspiracy by President Trump, who (outrageously) claims the substance is "100 percent safe, once applied." A former EPA official takes a guess at the administration’s strategy: “They don’t want to open Pandora’s box by looking comprehensively at the risk, as [it] may prove to be significant, and then they have to deal with it.”



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