Publish the Environmental Protection Agency’s List of Hazardous Chemicals

Chemical Station.

Target: Boris Bershteyn, Acting Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Goal: Publish the EPA’s hazardous chemicals list.

Many items in U.S. stores have warning labels. Others, such as reusable water bottles and aerosol spray cans, display stickers declaring that they are free of certain substances. This initiative to identify potentially harmful chemicals certainly benefits the consumer. Recently, the EPA took this idea a step further by proposing the publication of a “chemicals of concern” list. This list would enumerate certain chemicals that the EPA believes present “an unreasonable risk to human health and/or the environment.” In order for such a list to be published, it must first be evaluated by the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). By Executive Order, OIRA must review proposals within 90 days of receiving them; at most, a 30-day extension may be enacted. Controversially, the office has still not wrapped up its review of the EPA’s proposal.

OIRA has not given any specific details with regards to the delay. It should be noted that 15 of 22 EPA rules under review have been at OIRA for over a year. The “chemicals of concern” list has been challenged by multinational corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Dow Chemical. Some trade groups have also voiced concerns over the list’s economic effects. This being said, neither of these points sufficiently explain why the office has neither confirmed nor denied the EPA’s proposal. Furthermore, experts, such as Richard Denison of the Environmental Defense Fund, argue that the list would not negatively affect commerce and it is within the EPA’s authority to publish it.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) states eloquently that Americans deserve “access to information about the chemicals found in products throughout their homes that might pose a risk to their health.” OIRA is abusing its evaluative powers by not concluding such an important review. By signing this petition, you are supporting the Senator’s statement and helping to demand the publication of the “chemicals of concern” list. The health and safety of consumers should be held in higher regard than the interests of large corporations and interest groups.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Bershteyn,

On May 12, 2010, the EPA proposed the publication of a “chemicals of concern” list. This list would enumerate certain chemicals that the EPA believes present “an unreasonable risk to human health and/or the environment.” Your office must review such proposals within 90 days of receiving them. Controversially, your review of the EPA’s proposal has not concluded.

You have not given any specific details with regards to the delay. Although several multinational corporations and trade groups have expressed concern over the list, this does not sufficiently explain why your office has neither confirmed nor denied the EPA’s proposal. Furthermore, experts argue that the list would not negatively affect commerce and it is within the EPA’s authority to publish it.

It seems clear that your office is abusing its evaluative powers; it should be noted that 15 of 22 EPA rules have been under your review for over a year. I am urging you to make the right decision and publish the EPA’s proposed chemical list. The health and safety of consumers should be held in higher regard than the interests of large corporations and interest groups.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    Absurd that household products are not required to be labeled because they are considered as patented products.

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