Read the full article by Scott Faber (EWG)
“There are many reasons for the Senate to oppose President Trump’s nominee to chair the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Nancy Beck.
Since 1980, the use of methylene chloride in paint strippers has killed scores of people. But while in a top position at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety, Beck delayed a proposed ban of methylene chloride in paint strippers. People died.
Beck also stymied a proposed ban of some uses of the known carcinogen TCE, which contaminates hundreds of military bases, and played down the impact of TCE on fetal hearts. Beck twisted federal law to frustrate EPA’s efforts to finally ban asbestos – an interpretation recently deemed illegal.
But it’s Beck’s efforts to weaken consumer protections from the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS – also called ‘forever’ chemicals because they never break down and build up in our blood – that should give senators the most serious pause.
Records released by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee show that Beck succeeded in weakening a regulation that requires companies to notify and get permission from the EPA before they start using so-called long-chain PFAS like PFOA – the most notorious of the PFAS chemicals, linked to cancer and other serious health effects – in consumer products ranging from carpets to wiring to clothing.
In 2015, the EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule, or SNUR, for long-chain PFAS that applied to many products. What that means is that manufacturers of everyday products would not only have to let the EPA know they were planning to use PFOA or other long-chain PFAS but would also have to seek the agency’s approval.
In 2017, when Beck took a senior position in the EPA’s chemical safety office, she sought to exploit a provision in a new toxic chemical law to weaken the SNUR for PFAS. After she left the EPA to work at the White House, records show, Beck continued her crusade against PFAS regulation.
Earlier this year, Beck succeeded in her quest to narrow the scope of the rule by limiting it to the surface coatings of products. As a result of her efforts, a company could use PFOA inside a product without getting the EPA’s permission – even though many products degrade over time or wind up being disposed of in a landfill or incinerator…”