EPA-Approved Toxic Chemicals Cracked Ten Years Ago, New Files

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The presence of PFAS in oil and gas extraction threatens to expose oilfield workers and emergency workers dealing with fires and spills, as well as people living near or below drilling sites, to a class of chemicals that are facing increased scrutiny for their connections. cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems

A class of man-made chemicals that are toxic even in very small concentrations have been used for decades to make products such as PFAS, nonstick pans, stain resistant carpets and firefighting foam. Substances have come under scrutiny in recent years for their tendency to persist in the environment and accumulate in the human body, as well as their links to health problems such as cancer and birth defects. Both Congress and the Biden administration better regulates PFAS contaminating drinking water as many as 80 million Americans.

Industry researchers have long been aware of their toxicity. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s, then environmental lawyer Rob Bilott He sued DuPont, saying the dangers of PFAS were becoming widely known because of pollution from the Teflon plant in Parkersburg, W.Va. In settlements with the EPA in the mid-2000s, DuPont acknowledged knowing the dangers of PFAS, and it and many other chemical manufacturers later committed to phasing out use of certain types of chemicals by 2015.

Kevin A. Schug, professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington, added that the chemicals identified in the FracFocus database belong to the group of PFAS compounds, but there is not enough information to establish a direct link between them. The chemicals in the database and those approved by the EPA Still, he said, “it’s clear that the approved polymer, if and when it degrades in the environment, will break down into PFAS.”

The findings highlight how decades of nationwide laws regulating various chemicals have allowed thousands of substances to enter commercial use with relatively little testing. The EPA’s assessment was carried out under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which empowers the agency to review and regulate new chemicals before they are produced or distributed.

But experts say for years there were loopholes in this law that exposed Americans to harmful chemicals. Also, the Toxic Substances Control Act thousands of chemicals already in commercial use, including many PFAS chemicals. in 2016 Congress strengthened the lawIt strengthens the EPA’s authority to order health testing, among other measures. The Office of Government Accountability, the oversight arm of Congress, still defines the Toxic Substances Control Act as a program. one of the highest risks of abuse and mismanagement.

In recent days, informants Cut He said the EPA office responsible for reviewing toxic chemicals has changed their assessment of dozens of chemicals to make them seem safer. In a statement, EPA scientists evaluating the new chemicals “are the last line of defense between harmful—even deadly—chemicals and their entry into U.S. trade, and are struggling to maintain the integrity of that line of defense,” the whistleblowers said in a statement. Published by Public Workers for Environmental Responsibility, a Maryland-based nonprofit group.

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