Report says EPA shields firms
Chemical details kept secret, files say
By Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger McClatchy-Tribune
MILWAUKEE -The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency routinely allows companies to keep new information about their chemicals secret, including compounds that have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory problems, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.
The newspaper examined more than 2,000 filings in the EPA’s registry of dangerous chemicals for the past three years. In more than half the cases, the EPA agreed to keep the chemical name a secret. In hundreds of other cases, it allowed the company filing the report to keep its name and address confidential. This is despite a federal law calling for public notice of any new information through the EPA’s program monitoring chemicals that pose substantial risk. The whole idea of the program is to warn the public of new- found dangers. ‘
The EPA’s rules are supposed to allow confidentiallity only “under very limited circumstances.”
Legal experts and environmental advocates say the practice of sanitizing,” or blacking out, thls informatlon not only strips vital information from the public, but violates the agency’s own law. ‘
Section 14 Of the toxic Substances Control Act, the foundation for all the EPA’s toxic and chemical regulations, stipulates that chemical producers may not be granted confidentiality when it comes to health and safety data.
“The EPA has chosen to ignore that,” said Wendy Wagner,a law professor at the University of Texas-Austin.
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