The Environmental Protection Agency released its list of 10 priority chemicals for review Tuesday.
Environmental and consumer groups fought for years to update the nation’s badly outdated chemical regulations.
The Environmental Working Group applauds the EPA for releasing the list ahead of schedule and for taking other steps to carry out the nation’s new chemical safety law.
“While this is an important milestone, this list is just the first 10 of 1,000 chemicals in need of urgent EPA review,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.
Consumers and workers shouldn’t have to wait five years or more for the EPA to complete reviews and regulations, Faber said.
“Manufacturers should act now to replace these chemicals with safer alternatives,” he said.
In addition, many of the hazardous chemicals in consumer products, including cosmetics, aren’t regulated by the EPA, but by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Congress should act swiftly to update the laws regulating these chemicals to ensure that these everyday products are safe,” Faber said
However, Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the EWG, has concerns about how the Trump administration will handle the review of chemicals that the EPA is beginning.
The team deciding how the incoming administration will carry out the new law is led by Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded front group that has consistently downplayed the risks toxic chemicals pose, Benesh said. The front group's so-called experts call chemicals posing serious health hazards safe – including arsenic, mercury, phthalates, and formaldehyde.
“If people like Ebell, who isn’t a scientist, are put in charge of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, there’s no telling how the science will be twisted to serve the chemical industry,” said Benesh, writing on the EWG’s blog. “And if the EPA gets it wrong with these first 10 chemicals, there could be serious consequences.”
The first 10 chemicals, many of which are found in consumer products and have been linked to cancer, to be evaluated are:
Cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster
Pigment violet 29
Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene