EPA Withheld Reports of Substantial Risk Posed by 1,200 Chemicals
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: November 28th, 2021
The Environmental Protection Agency has withheld information from the public since January 2019 about the dangers posed by more than 1,200 chemicals. By law, companies must give the EPA any evidence they possess that a chemical presents “a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.” Until recently, the agency had been making these reports — known as 8(e) reports, for the section of the Toxic Substances Control Act that requires them — available to the public. But since 2019, the EPA has only posted one of the reports to its public website. During this time, chemical companies have continued to submit the critical studies to the agency, according to two EPA staff members with knowledge of the matter. Since January 2019, the EPA has received at least 1,240 reports documenting the risk of chemicals’ serious harms, including eye corrosion, damage to the brain and nervous system, chronic toxicity to honeybees, and cancer in both people and animals. PFAS compounds are among the chemical subjects of these notifications. Not only has the agency kept all but one of these reports from the public, but it has also made them difficult for EPA staff to access, according to the two agency scientists, who are choosing to remain anonymous. The substantial risk reports have not been uploaded to the databases used most often by risk assessors searching for information about chemicals. They have been entered only into an internal database that is difficult to access and search.
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