The Biden administration is preparing to impose some of the first new rules in a generation to restrict or ban an array of toxic chemicals that are widely used in manufacturing. The move presents the White House with tough choices between its economic agenda and public health, reports The New York Times.
Many of the substances in question are important to industries that President Biden has backed through other policies intended to bolster global competitiveness and national security, such as semiconductors and electric vehicles.
Corporations are framing the decisions about new regulations for an initial group of toxic chemicals as putting at risk the administration’s drive to nurture the American economy of the future. Environmental and public health groups are stressing the need to focus on protecting workers and communities from substances known to carry health risks, such as cancer, liver and kidney damage and infertility.
Read more: Norfolk Southern Sued by Ohio Over Toxic Train Derailment
A major lobbying clash is already underway. Chip makers, the burgeoning electric vehicle industry and other companies, including military contractors, are pressuring the administration to water down the new rules, saying the repercussions of a ban or new restrictions could be crippling.
Boeing, Cummins, Ford, General Motors, General Electric and dozens of other companies have intervened with the E.P.A. directly or through trade associations to pre-emptively ask for exemptions.
The corporate lobbying has provoked an equally intense response from public health advocates, who argue that the chemicals in question have caused dozens of deaths or thousands of illnesses, particularly affecting Black and Latino communities near industrial zones in Texas, Louisiana and other states.
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