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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Why are four notorious carcinogens approved by FDA for food?

By Liora Fiksel, Project Manager, Healthy Communities, and Lisa Lefferts, Environmental Health Consultant

Pregnant woman rests a cup of coffee on her belly.

While exposure data are scant, people who are choosing decaf coffee during pregnancy or for other health reasons may not realize that some popular brands contain methylene chloride.

What’s Happening?

On December 21, 2023, FDA filed a food-additive petition and a color-additive petition submitted by EDF and partners that asks FDA to revoke its approval for four carcinogenic chemicals approved for use in food.

There is broad agreement that benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride, and ethylene dichloride are carcinogenic,1 and federal law2 is clear: additives that cause cancer in humans or animals are not considered “safe.” All the chemicals have been identified as causing cancer in humans or animals since the 1970s and 1980s.3 Read More »

Also posted in Carcinogenic, Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, FDA, Food, Health hazards, Public health, Vulnerable populations / Tagged , , , , , , | Authors: / Read 9 Responses

FDA’s latest study reaffirms short-chain PFAS biopersist. Now it must act.

By Maricel Maffini, PhD, Consultant, and Tom Neltner, JD

Female rat nursing multiple pups

FDA study found biopersistent PFAS in female rats and their pups,

What Happened

In December 2023, FDA’s scientists published a new study showing that when pregnant rats ingest a form of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFAS) called 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (6:2 FTOH) their bodies break it down into other PFAS that reach the fetuses and biopersist in the mother and the pups.

The study also showed that the body of a non-pregnant animal produces different breakdown products that also biopersist. This study is the latest evidence that the assumptions made about the safety of short-chain PFAS (chemicals with fewer than 8 carbons) have been wrong. Read More »

Also posted in Chemical regulation, Emerging science, FDA, Health science, Industry influence, Public health, Rules/Regulations, 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 »

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

Fatally Flawed: EDF & partners call on EPA to revoke approval for new chemicals with shocking health risks

 

 

A sepia-toned image showing a factory with dark smoke billowing out of multiple smokestacks.

What Happened?

EDF and other environmental groups recently asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the approval it issued for a group of new chemicals. This approval, also known as a consent order, allows Chevron to create fuels at its refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by using oils produced through a process of superheating plastic waste to break it down (a process known as pyrolysis). The consent order also allows for the use of these fuels derived from waste plastic at more than 100 locations. ProPublica published an article on the issue on August 4, 2023.

Why It Matters

EPA is required by law to provide protections against unreasonable risks posed by new chemicals. But in the consent order EPA approved the production and use of these new chemicals despite significant health risks. One of the chemicals posed a 1 in 4 risk of developing cancer for people exposed to it. Another chemical carried risks of a 7 in 100 cancer risk from eating fish contaminated by it and a greater than 1.3 in 1 cancer risk from inhaling it.

When asked about the shockingly high cancer risks it estimated, EPA claimed its cancer risk assumptions were overly conservative but failed to provide any information about what it believes are the actual risks and pointed to undefined controls under other laws as controlling the risks.

Until now, the acceptable risk standard for cancer in the general population has been 1 in 1,000,000. The risk levels EPA identified are up to 1,000,000 times greater than that. Read More »

Also posted in Chemical exposure, Chemical regulation, Frontline communities, Health hazards, Health policy, Industry influence, Risk assessment, Risk evaluation, TSCA, Vulnerable populations / Tagged , , , , | Authors: / Comments are closed