EDF Health

Unveiling EDF’s Chemical Exposure Action Map

U.S. map showing chemical facilities across the nationWhat’s New

Today, we are excited to introduce the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) latest initiative—the Chemical Exposure Action Map. This tool is designed to spur the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to transform the assessment of risks posed by toxic chemicals in our communities.

Our map focuses on multiple high-priority chemicals—making visible the urgent and long-overdue need to assess the risks of chemicals together as they exist in the real-world. Unlike many current methods that look at risks one chemical at a time, our map offers a comprehensive view, highlighting the potential for cumulative risks from multiple high-priority chemicals.

Why It Matters

In a world where industrial facilities expose communities to multiple harmful chemicals daily, many have long called for a cumulative approach to assessing the risks from these chemicals. It is crucial that we wait no longer to reassess how we evaluate the health risks they pose.

Pregnant Latine woman gazing lovingly at young daughter who is hugging her belly.

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Posted in Adverse health effects, Carcinogenic, Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Cumulative impact, Cumulative risk assessment, Developmental toxicity, Health hazards, Health policy, Public health, Regulation, Risk assessment, Risk evaluation, TSCA, Vulnerable populations / Tagged , , , , , , | Authors: , / Comments are closed

EPA’s TCE ban: A vital step for public health

We only have until December 15, 2023, to show EPA we support
a full and rapid ban of all uses of TCE.

Take Action: Tell EPA–Ban TCE Now

What Happened?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently taken a significant step in safeguarding public health by proposing new regulations under our nation’s primary chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would protect people from exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a highly toxic chemical that causes serious health risks. The proposed rule would ban the production, import, processing, and distribution in commerce for all uses of TCE.

Yet, despite the known dangers of TCE and the undeniable scientific evidence supporting the need for this action, the chemical industry is trying to undermine this critical regulation by incorrectly claiming the proposed rule is “inconsistent with the science.” Read More »

Posted in Adverse health effects, Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Developmental toxicity, Health hazards, Industry influence, Neurotoxicity, Public health, Reproductive toxicity, Rules/Regulations, TSCA / Tagged , , | Authors: / Read 1 Response

EPA’s new chemical regulations: Backtracking on PBTs

NOTE: This is the fifth in a series about EPA’s regulation of new chemicals. See below under Go Deeper for links to the other blogs in the series.

What Happened?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed new regulations for its safety reviews of new chemicals under our nation’s primary chemicals law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). One of the proposed provisions would govern which persistent, bioaccumulative,1 toxic chemicals (PBTs) should undergo a full safety review.

Why It Matters

This proposed approach would exclude certain PBTs from a full new chemical safety review. This is a concerning step backward in addressing the risks from these chemicals.

PBT chemicals do not break down readily from natural processes and raise special concern because of their ability to build up in both the environment and in people and other organisms. Even small releases of these long-lived and bioaccumulative toxic chemicals can pose long-term risks to human health and the environment. Notable PBTs—such as DDT, which affects reproduction, and methyl mercury, which is a powerful neurotoxin—impacted whole ecosystems across the United States, including the Great Lakes.

View of Lake Michigan

View of Lake Michigan Photo credit: Maria Doa

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Posted in Adverse health effects, Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Health hazards, Health policy, Neurotoxicity, PBTs, Regulation, Risk assessment, Rules/Regulations, TSCA / Tagged , , , , , | Authors: / Comments are closed

Industry is scapegoating EPA for new chemical review delays

What’s Happening?

The chemical industry has an extensive—and ongoing—history of complaining about how long it takes EPA to do new chemical safety reviews.

The irony is that industry is the very player causing the delays in EPA’s review process. Clear data indicate that chemical manufacturers are primarily responsible for the length of EPA’s reviews and the backlog of cases.

Illustration of a goat looking anxious as 6 fingers point at it from outside the frame

Why It Matters

One of EPA’s vital roles is to assess the safety of new chemicals before they enter the market.

Industry’s outcry about a backlog serves as a smokescreen to pressure EPA into swiftly approving new chemicals even when they may not be safe. This would put us all at risk, particularly those who are more susceptible or maybe more highly exposed, such as children, pregnant people, and people who live and work in fenceline communities.

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Posted in Chemical regulation, Industry influence / Tagged , , , , | Authors: / Comments are closed

Now’s the Time—How EPA can use TSCA to turn off the PFAS tap

Faucet with the word PFAS flowing out of it

In the face of mounting evidence about the dangers posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), one thing is clear: EPA needs to take urgent action to turn off the tap of these “forever chemicals” that have long-term consequences for our health and the environment.

As we discussed in a previous blog, it is imperative that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to regulate PFAS chemicals comprehensively—both those newly entering the market and those that have been in circulation for decades.

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Posted in Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Cumulative impact, Cumulative risk assessment, Drinking water, Emerging science, Health policy, Public health, Regulation, Risk assessment, Risk evaluation, TSCA, TSCA reform, Vulnerable populations, Worker safety / Tagged , , , | Authors: / Read 2 Responses

EPA’s approach to 1,4-dioxane falls short of protecting fenceline communities

Clear water pouring from a pitcher into a glass.What’s New?

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) embarked on a critical Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) supplemental risk evaluation of 1,4-dioxane [PDF, 8.7MB]– a highly carcinogenic chemical that contaminates drinking water supplies across the country and is present in products, such as cleaning supplies and personal care products.

This draft supplemental risk evaluation represents a significant step forward because it addresses many of the omissions from the original 1,4-dioxane risk evaluation. Unfortunately, as we noted in our comments to EPA, a closer examination reveals several shortcomings in how EPA addresses risks to fenceline communities—people living, playing, and working near industrial facilities that release toxic chemicals into the air and water. Read More »

Posted in Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Cumulative impact, Cumulative risk assessment, TSCA / Tagged , , | Authors: , / Read 1 Response