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Protecting people from chemical hazards — another EPA failure in the making

November 25, 2019 / TheHill

Most Americans assume that the chemicals in the consumer products we buy, such as that long list of unpronounceable ingredients in your bathroom cleaner or laundry detergent, have been tested and found safe for people and the environment. The truth is, not so much. And Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is missing an important opportunity to make those products safer. For decades, efforts to ensure chemical safety were stymied by an ineffective regulatory regime: the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which regulated household and industrial compounds, was widely regarded as toothless. During my 20-plus year career at EPA, I served as a senior manager in the agency’s toxics program from 1987 to 1989. The weakness of the original TSCA was a key factor in my decision to leave that position.