Chemical Toxicity Assessments will Grow in Scope Under New Bill
Alan L. Johnson
Cheryl Hogue reports in Chemical & Engineering News that: "Chemical toxicity assessments by U.S. EPA to be reshaped, if bill passes" Cheryl takes a look at the new bill H.R. 6468. She explains:
> The legislation, H.R. 6468, would require EPA to consider hazard assessments from industry, other federal agencies, states, academic researchers, or international agencies if those analyses meet standards laid out in the legislation. Many Democrats oppose the bill, saying it would amplify industry’s influence of assessments. It could also give federal agencies facing pollution liability, such as the Defense Department, more clout over EPA assessments, which are used to set cleanup standards.
The two sides are split;
> Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the sponsor of the bill, says this change would allow regulatory offices to tailor chemical assessments to their specific needs.
> Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), who opposes the bill, says divvying up the job of chemical assessments among EPA’s regulatory programs introduces opportunities for agency political appointees to sway outcomes of assessments. Assessments should remain the job of scientific experts in a part of EPA that doesn’t regulate, he argues.
Cheryl goes on to conclude that:
> Given its Republican majority, the House may pass the bill. But it’s unlikely the Senate would take it up before the November general election.
Industry has long been a part of chemical assessments and participation between the EPA and industry has always been needed. It is clear that allowing the politically appointed EPA representatives to have access and say in the assessments does introduce a new layer of influence that could be used in an ill manner. It will be up to Congress and the people to decide if this level of industry intervention is what is needed to advance chemical assessments.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. What are your thoughts about allowing industry to assess the hazards of their own products?
Q2. Should the government have all the say in hazard classification?
Q3. Do you agree with Rep. Biggs or Rep. McNerney?