EPA finalizes rule to regulate cancer-linked chemical

EPA finalizes rule to regulate cancer-linked chemical
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday finalized a rule to control leaks of a type of pollution from industrial equipment, though critics argued the agency did not go far enough.

The agency announced Monday that it had promulgated a rule to regulate emissions of ethylene oxide, which is used in the production of industrial chemicals. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been associated with cancer and neurotoxicity and short-term exposure has been linked to lung injuries. 

EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEPA, employee union sign contract after years of disputes OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump order aims to curb US agencies' use of foreign workers after TVA outrage | EPA transition back to the office alarms employees | Hundreds of green groups oppose BLM nominee EPA transition back to the office alarms employees MORE said in a statement that the action underscores the Trump administration’s "commitment to addressing and reducing hazardous air pollutants, including ethylene oxide emissions, across the country.”

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But Emma Cheuse, an attorney with Earthjustice, criticized the agency for choosing to finalize what she called the “less-protective” option of two that it was considering. 

“EPA has chosen not to control the pollution as much as possible to prevent people from getting cancer from ethylene oxide,” Cheuse told The Hill. 

When the rule was in the proposal stage, the agency weighed the implementation of a stricter standard for what would be considered a leak of ethylene oxide at certain high-risk facilities but did not ultimately choose to implement the stricter standard. 

Cheuse said she believed the rule should have included other measures such as fence-line monitoring, in which facilities track emissions at the edge of their property to determine how much of the substance is crossing into other areas. 

While the rule was at the White House under final consideration, the administration held two meetings, one the day before the rule was finalized, with representatives from the chemical and medical industries. It did not hold meetings with environmentalists during this time, though it did meet with some environmental groups when the rule was in an earlier stage.

The agency’s rule follows a 2017 court order requiring it to, within three years, determine whether it needed additional regulations for several industrial processes.