A new ProPublica article reports that, “[f]rom a powerful chemical industry that helped write the toxic substances law to an underfunded EPA lacking in resolve, the flaws in the American chemical regulatory apparatus run deep.”
When ProPublica published stories this fall cataloging new evidence that American chemical workers are being exposed to asbestos, readers reacted with surprise over the most simple fact: Asbestos, the killer mineral whose dangers have been known for over a century, is still legal?
Asbestos is only one of many toxic substances that are linked to problems like cancers, genetic mutations and fetal harm and that other countries have banned, but the United States has not. That includes substances like hexabromocyclododecane, a flame retardant used in some building materials that can damage fetal development and disrupt thyroid hormones, and trichloroethylene, a toxic industrial degreaser that has contaminated communities, including a whole neighborhood that suffered a string of tragic pediatric cancer cases.
ProPublica spoke with environmental experts around the world and delved into a half century of legislation, lawsuits, EPA documents, oral histories, chemical databases and global regulatory records “to construct a blueprint of a failed system [and] how the U.S. became a global laggard in chemical regulation.”
The article is here.