Read full article by Daniel Rosenberg (NRDC)
“The Trump EPA has again shown it intends to do nothing meaningful to protect the public from the whole class of Teflon ‘forever’ chemicals known as PFAS…
For the Trump administration, ‘action’ on PFAS means:
- Suppressing a government report that shows PFAS are dangerous at lower levels than EPA’s current estimates (we’re talking about in the single digit parts per trillion levels);
- Proposing to radically alter EPA’s science policies to exclude epidemiological studies and animal studies that could shed more light on harm caused by PFAS and other chemicals;
- Nominating an industry consultant to run EPA’s Toxics Office—Michael Dourson—who advised the state of West Virginia on PFAS after being recommended to the state by DuPont (a nomination withdrawn upon bipartisan opposition);
- Threatening to veto legislation that would take critical steps to address the PFAS crisis including:
- phasing out the use of PFAS in firefighting foam at Defense Department installations;
- designating the chemicals as ‘hazardous,’ which would compel the Defense Department to clean up massive contamination for which it is responsible (it uses a lot of the PFAS-contaminated foam); and,
- establishing national monitoring through the United States Geological Survey, just to name a few highly beneficial provisions.
And this week, the latest: EPA has announced an ‘Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’—ostensibly to take public comment on which of the nearly 5,000 PFAS chemicals should be added to the Toxics Release Inventory, which requires industry to report on its releases of included chemicals to air, water, or land (correct answer: all of them)…
EPA is spinning this diversion as an ‘important step to advance’ the agency’s PFAS action plan. Like the rest of the Trump EPA’s ’Action’ Plan, this is designed to look like EPA action to address the PFAS crisis. In fact, the agency is doing everything it can not to act, and to stop others from doing so. This ‘important step’ is a transparent attempt to sway Members of Congress to vote against the legislation that will compel EPA to take concrete action on PFAS. Nobody should be fooled.
And this comes less than a week after EPA touted a ban on the consumer use and sale of the toxic chemical methylene chloride in paint strippers. The ban was finalized in March but just took effect. It’s an important public health step that will make the public safer from exposure to a deadly chemical. But, by itself, the consumer ban is not enough to fully protect the public, or to comply with the requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is still failing to sufficiently protect people from methylene chloride because the Trump EPA refuses to take meaningful action to protect the public…
These do-nothing policies are what one would expect from a chemical industry lobbyist who wanted to simulate caring about the harm caused by toxic chemicals and protecting the public. Both ‘actions’ are undoubtedly the brainchild of chemical industry lobbyist Nancy Beck, who ran EPA’s Toxics office from 2017, until moving to the White House recently to spearhead the Trump Administration’s opposition to anything that actually protects people from PFAS chemicals. They are the industry-captured government version of the chemical industry’s Delay Game strategy: take all steps necessary to prevent or impede regulation of the industry’s toxic and poisonous products for as long as possible.
It is a cynical approach to policy that it is wrecking a system intended to protect the public. The chemical industry’s way is a callous disregard for the pain and suffering of people all over the country (and the world)—whose stories wind up in movies like Silkwood, Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action and, now, Dark Waters.”