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Chemical Regulation

US Congress probes industry influence on chemical approvals

by Britt E. Erickson
August 30, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 31


The US Environmental Protection Agency faces an Aug. 31 deadline to provide Congress with information related to allegations that managers downplayed the hazards of new chemicals to get them on the market quickly. In an Aug. 17 letter to EPA administrator Michael Regan, Democratic leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested a briefing to discuss how the agency is responding to the complaints, which were raised by four whistleblowers who work or previously worked in the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The congressional leaders also asked for written responses to queries about industry influence on chemical risk assessments and whether the EPA plans to reevaluate chemicals that may have been subject to such interference. The committee leaders are particularly concerned about the EPA’s approval of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of persistent chemicals, some of which are highly toxic. They are also asking for information on the EPA’s efforts to strengthen whistleblower protections.


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