The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is morphing into the Environmental Un-Protection Agency. Or perhaps the Environmental Destruction Agency. Call it what you will, rolling back rules that have taken decades to implement is a move in the wrong direction.
These are the first rules issued since Scott Pruitt, a former chemical industry lobbyist, took charge of the EPA. What do they include? Loopholes that disregard exposures to the most vulnerable and susceptible populations which the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) sought to protect.
What began as an effort to update existing inadequate rules has deteriorated into weak versions that favor the chemical industry. The initial draft version of these rules were the result of extensive public consultation that included chemical industry manufacturers, retailers, health impacted groups, medical professionals, and public interest groups. Everyone had a say. The draft rules had bipartisan support from Congress and the Obama White House and were applauded by health experts for creating a rigorous process to identify and control harmful exposures to toxic chemicals linked to significant health threats link cancer, reproductive disease and learning disabilities.
Despite these advances, the rules that have been released were revised and scaled back without public input and do not reflect the input of the various groups. They only reflect the chemical industry’s objectives. So sad; this was not what the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act set out to achieve.