Is the EPA Letting the Chemical Industry Regulate Itself?

chemistry photo
Image: Spectacles via flickr

The American Chemistry Council is trying to influence how the EPA prioritizes the chemicals it chooses to evaluate for safety. The ACC—a group that supported Obama's recent decision to drop the effort to tighten Bush-era ozone standards, and that spent $1.65 million lobbying government agencies, including the EPA, in the second quarter—says the EPA lacks a "consistent, transparent process" for evaluating which chemicals need further evaluation.

So it wants the EPA to adopt the tool it created—get this—in consultation with member companies, the same companies producing the chemicals that the EPA is supposed to be regulating.Environmental Leader reports:

ACC says that its process evaluates chemicals against transparent, consistent and scientific criteria that take into account both hazard and exposure (see diagram, above). Chemicals would be given a score based on the criteria, and then ranked based on their scores and the agency's best scientific judgment.

This comes a month after the EPA published a new Chemical Data Reporting Rule that increases the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from manufacturers, and limits confidentiality claims by companies.

The ACC's plan is not entirely misguided: the EPA is indeed looking for ways to identify priority chemicals for review and possible risk management action under the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to BNA, and is seeking comment on its proposed criteria.

The rule itself is a strong and positive step forward for the agency and for public safety. Let's hope it's not backtracked by an effort led by the chemical industry to influence how the EPA regulates... the chemical industry.

More on chemicals and manufacturer disclosure:
EPA Proposal Addresses Abuse of Chemical Trade Secret Claims
Walmart As Government: Screening Chemical Product Formulations To Protect Public Health
Should Manufacturers Disclose Secret Chemical Ingredients?

Related Content on