Trump Administration Is ‘Dangerously Off The Rails’ With Toxic Chemical Regulation, Say Democratic Senators

A view of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Five Democratic senators have recently written to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to voice their concerns about the Trump administration’s lack of toxic chemical regulations, claiming that government officials are choosing to ignore the health of Americans by reportedly favoring the chemical industry, wrote The Guardian.

The authors of the letter, including Cory Booker, Tom Udall, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, and Sheldon Whitehouse, write that the Trump administration has gone “dangerously off the rails” in failing to implement legislation to better protect Americans from harmful chemicals.

The lawmakers included eight pages of documentation alongside their letter that outline specific questions and issues for the EPA to address, insinuating that the agency has failed to require proper information from chemical producers about their products.

The senators also claim that Trump’s EPA has not been following the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which was amended in 2016 and makes sure that the agency has enough power to ensure that humans are not being exposed to damaging chemicals and better regulates everyday products and materials to make them safe for both humans and the environment.

“Among the reforms included in the law were key requirements to protect vulnerable populations – including children, pregnant women, the elderly and chemical industry workers – and to evaluate and review the safety of all new and existing chemicals on the market.”

Despite the reforms to the law, the senators claim that the EPA is “weakening or openly violating critical safeguards, including allowing chemicals onto the market without reviewing critical information about risks to public health.”

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The Environmental Defense Fund has also issued a report that reveals that the EPA has approved the unlimited use of over 80 percent of all chemicals it has reviewed over the past year. The advocacy group points out that the EPA is ignoring massive amounts of toxic chemical contamination from various sites across the country and adds that the Trump administration has either decided to stop or scale back the restrictions of three specific chemicals that the Obama administration pursued.

For the EPA’s part, the agency has denied ignoring or abandoning the reforms in the Toxic Substances Control Act and say that it has “diligently worked” to implement the law, “while ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace, protecting human health and the environment, and advancing the agency’s core mission.”

In response to the senators’ concerns, a spokesperson for the agency added that House and Senate staffers will be briefed by a top chemicals expert this week.