Chemical Safety


Would Chemical Safety Measures Under Dourson Protect Military Families? Probably Not.

, researcher, Center for Science & Democracy

Update (December 14, 2017): Michael Dourson has withdrawn his nomination to head the EPA’s division of chemical safety. Read the statement from UCS President Ken Kimmell, Dourson’s Withdrawal a Victory for Science, Health.


Dr. Michael Dourson, a toxicologist with a history of providing consultation to the chemical industry, could become the head of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dourson has consistently defended the use of several chemicals found to pose major adverse health effects, manipulating his research in favor of industry interests. This could spell trouble for public health and safety, particularly in low-income communities and communities where residents are predominately people of color—which often includes military bases. Read more >

Charise Johnson
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Post-Harvey, the Arkema Disaster Reveals Chemical Safety Risks Were Preventable

, researcher, Center for Science & Democracy

Halloween is right around the corner, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been a perpetual nightmare to public safety since Administrator Scott Pruitt arrived, sending long-awaited chemical safety amendments to an early grave this year. The Risk Management Plan (RMP) is a vital EPA chemical safety rule that “requires certain facilities to develop plans that identify potential effects of a chemical accident, and take certain actions to prevent harm to the public or the environment”—but delays to the effective date of the long-awaited updates are putting communities, workers, and first responders directly in the way of harm, as we have witnessed from recent events following Hurricane Harvey. Read more >

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The Arkema chemical facility in Crosby, Texas. Google Maps image.

As Arkema Plant Burns, Six Things We Know About Petrochemical Risks in the Wake of Harvey

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

As Harvey continues to wreak havoc in the Southeast, one issue is starting to emerge as a growing threat to public health and safety: Houston’s vast oil, gas, and chemical production landscape. We’ve already seen accidental releases of chemicals at facilities owned by ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others. Now we are seeing explosions at Arkema’s Crosby facility 20 miles northeast of Houston, due to power failures and flooding. And there remains a threat of additional explosions. Read more >

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A Free Ride: How Special Interests Are Undermining Chemical Facility Safety

, Washington representative, Center for Science and Democracy

I’ve talked about the importance of a clean budget with no riders on this blog before, and my colleagues certainly have discussed this issue at length in the past. Read more >

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Avoiding Chemical Disasters, Managing Risks: EPA Addresses Chemical Safety

, Washington representative, Center for Science and Democracy

In response to the 2013 West, Texas disaster that killed 15 people, injured 200 more, and impacted thousands in the community, President Barack Obama asked the federal government to modernize its chemical safety rules. Nearly three years later, the Environmental Protection Agency has finally proposed changes to the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule. Read more >

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