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Spearheaded by Earthjustice, the groups have filed two suits: one is over the methodology EPA will use to set the ground rules for how it will prioritize chemicals for safety review and the second is exactly how it will evaluate those chemicals.
It is all tied to the updated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which Congress updated in 2016. Under the law, EPA must complete risk evaluations within certain time frames and using certain scientific methods. One of the reasons for the update is because of the backlog of chemicals that had yet to be approved, which manufacturers said was hurting their businesses.
However, Earthjustice said it just filed the complaint in federal court in San Francisco to hold those same manufacturers responsible for protecting workers and families from chemical risks.
“After Congress took bipartisan action to make desperately needed updates to our chemical safety laws, the Trump Administration has turned back the clock, leaving families and workers at risk,” said Eve Gartner, an attorney at Earthjustice. “The EPA’s newly adopted rules — overseen by a former high-level chemical industry official with head-spinning conflicts of interest — will leave children, communities and workers vulnerable to dangerous chemicals. This lawsuit is about one thing: holding the Trump EPA to the letter of the law and ensuring it fulfills its mandate to protect the public.”
In 2016, Congress amended the chemical law, TSCA, for the first time in 40 years. It now requires EPA to conduct comprehensive risk evaluations of chemicals without regard to cost. But Earthjustice said that the Trump administration has “dramatically weakened” the rules. For more than six years, Earthjustice said that it has fought for TSCA reform to ensure the EPA adequately protects the public and environment from harmful chemicals.
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