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EPA’s Toxic Chemical Unit Narrows Scope of Evaluations

The Environmental Protection Agency is handing over a big win to the chemical industry by significantly narrowing the scope of the agency’s risk evaluations of items like “dry-cleaning solvents, paint strippers and substances used in health and beauty products,” according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. The scope of these risk evaluations will no longer include “any potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water,” leaving an “estimated 68 million pounds a year of emissions” unstudied, the newspaper reports. The agency will instead only focus on the danger chemicals bring with “direct contact” in workplaces and other settings. Nancy Beck, the Trump administration appointee tasked to oversee the toxic chemical unit, used to be an executive for the American Chemistry Council—a chemical lobbying group that pushed for narrow evaluations that would benefit the industry.