Chemical Safety


The public water supply in Hyannis, Massachusetts, one of the communities currently dealing PFAS contamination. Photo: A. Fox. Courtesy of STEEP

Federal Health Study on Drinking Water Contaminants Calls into Question Safety of Nation’s Drinking Water Supply

Dr. Laurel Schaider, , UCS

On a late June evening in a high school auditorium in Exeter, NH, dozens of people stepped up to the microphone to tell EPA about contaminated drinking water in their communities. They described unexplained illnesses in their families, expressed frustration about inadequate government response, and shared their guilt and fear about their children’s exposures to toxics and the possible long-term effects. “Years before becoming pregnant, I was educating people on how to eliminate environmental toxics from their personal care products and food. That’s why this was so devastating,” said Alayna Davis, co-founder of a local community group called Testing for Pease. “I could not prevent this water from contaminating my son’s body.”  Read more >

Courtesy of STEEP, photo by A. Fox.
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The Chevron Richmond refinery fire, August 6, 2012. Photo: Greg Kunit/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Flickr)

Contents Under Pressure: Speak Out Against EPA Proposed Chemical Facility Safety Rollbacks That Put Communities at Risk

, researcher, Center for Science & Democracy

Over the last year, we have written extensively on the actions that Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken to eliminate or weaken critical science-based protections, particularly on chemical facility safety. From the outset, Pruitt was determined to delay the implementation of updates to the Risk Management Plan(RMP) that called for the assessment of safer technologies, more accessible and quality information for communities near facilities, and improved emergency response coordination. Now with a new proposed rule, the saga continues as the EPA under Pruitt moves one step closer to eliminating hard-fought improvements to the RMP. Read more >

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Kentucky Army National Guard members training for disaster response

Five Things You Should Know About EPA’s Proposed Giant Step Backward on the Safety of Chemical Facilities

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

As one of his first acts in office, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to put on hold the implementation of new regulations to improve the safety of chemical facilities around the country. Those regulations, finalized in 2017, called for consideration of safer technologies, better information for communities and first responders that are on the front lines of accidents and other incidents, better planning for accidents and disasters, and improvements in response capabilities including coordination and practice sessions with local first responders. These changes were made to update the so-called Risk Management Plan rule, last significantly modified in 1996. Read more >

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New Report: One Year In, EPA Chemical Rule Delay Allows Chemical Disasters to Continue

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

While news this week suggests that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is a walking ethics disaster, he’s long been paving the way for actual disasters—chemical disasters that is. A report released today, A Disaster in the Making, by community, environmental, health, workers, and scientist groups, illuminates how Pruitt’s unnecessary delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule continues to harm Americans. Read more >

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Photo: US Department of Energy

Court To Decide Fate Of EPA’s Chemical Disaster Rule

, senior policy and legal analyst, Clean Vehicles

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging a 20-month delay EPA Administrator Pruitt put on standards designed to prevent accidents at facilities that use or store hazardous chemicals. On March 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hold a public oral hearing on this case, which pits environmental justice communities, scientists, public health advocates, and others against the EPA – whose very mission is to protect public health.

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