Environmental justice and health advocates today sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for missing statutory deadlines to complete risk evaluations for 22 toxic chemicals released in high volumes in fenceline communities and found in many everyday consumer products.
EPA initiated risk evaluations for the nearly two dozen toxic flame retardants, solvents, plasticizers, and fuel additives more than three and a half years ago but still needs to complete them. EPA’s inaction delays regulating the chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The chemicals with overdue risk evaluations include known carcinogens and substances that can harm people’s development and reproductive systems. TSCA set statutory deadlines for the EPA that passed in June and July. Earthjustice clients are asking the court to establish a binding timeline for EPA to comply with its chemical risk evaluation obligations under TSCA.
“EPA’s failure to complete nearly two dozen risk evaluations is delaying urgently needed regulation to protect children and families across the country from chemicals that cause lethal or life-altering health harm,” said Earthjustice Attorney Lakendra Barajas. “EPA must do everything in its power to complete its evaluations of these toxic chemicals as swiftly as possible and then use its broad authority under TSCA to protect people from the harm they cause.”
Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Community In-Power and Development Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Sierra Club, and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services.
Completing these overdue risk evaluations is the first step the EPA must take to regulate these harmful chemicals. TSCA provides the EPA with broad authority to restrict or ban chemical substances’ production, use, and disposal to protect human health and the environment.
Earthjustice clients notified the EPA of their intent to sue the agency for missing its statutory deadlines under TSCA on July 7. The agency had 60 days to respond to the letter before the clients filed the lawsuit.
Quotes from our clients:
“Industry has polluted our communities with toxic chemicals for decades, and it’s time EPA acted to protect us from further exposures,” said Ana Parras, the co-founder and co-director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. “EPA’s delay in reviewing these 22 toxic chemicals is unacceptable. It’s time the agency uses its resources to complete its overdue evaluations and enact strong rules that protect us from these pollutants.”
“Many of these toxic chemicals can cause irreversible harm to children’s brain development, but EPA can review them under TSCA and then act to prevent further unnecessary exposure,” said Tracy Gregoire, Healthy Children Project Director at the Learning Disabilities Association of America. “EPA has allowed companies to expose our children and families to these toxic chemicals for far too long. Now is the time for EPA to use its authority and regulate these toxic chemicals under TSCA.”
“EPA’s delay is prolonging communities’ exposure to some of the most widespread and toxic air pollutants,” said Jane Williams, chair of the Sierra Club’s National Clean Air Team. “Communities grappling with sickness and death from hazardous air pollution cannot wait any longer.”