EPA approved fuel ingredient with sky-high lifetime cancer risk, document reveals
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: September 10th, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency approved a component of boat fuel made from discarded plastic that the agency’s own risk formula determined was so hazardous, everyone exposed to the substance continually over a lifetime would be expected to develop cancer. Current and former EPA scientists said that threat level is unheard of. It is a million times higher than what the agency usually considers acceptable for new chemicals and six times worse than the risk of lung cancer from a lifetime of smoking. Federal law requires the EPA to conduct safety reviews before allowing new chemical products on to the market. If the agency finds that a substance causes unreasonable risk to health or the environment, the EPA is not allowed to approve it without first finding ways to reduce that risk. But the agency did not do that in this case. Instead, the EPA decided its scientists were overstating the risks and gave Chevron the go-ahead to make the new boat fuel ingredient at its refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Though the substance can poison air and contaminate water, EPA officials mandated no remedies other than requiring workers to wear gloves, records show. The EPA division that approves new chemicals usually limits lifetime cancer risk from an air pollutant to one additional case of cancer in a million people. That means that if a million people are continuously exposed over a presumed lifetime of 70 years, there would likely be at least one case of cancer on top of those from other risks people already face.