Energy & Environment

Trump EPA ripped over approach to chemical risk evaluations in new report


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is changing the way it evaluates risk from introducing chemicals, following a new report that criticized the agency’s approach under the Trump administration.

The new report, released Tuesday by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, said that the approach outlined in a 2018 guidance document “does not meet the criteria of ‘comprehensive, workable, objective, and transparent.’”

The report said that the approach outlined in the document led to broad questions, resulting in complicated analyses and challenges in drawing conclusions.

It particularly said that the agency’s review of trichloroethylene (TCE), was “of critically low quality” and said it shouldn’t be relied on as an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the studies available. 

The report said that in general, conceptual models used under the approach are “not consistently accounting for all exposure pathways.”

For the TCE evaluation, it said that land wastewater discharges weren’t considered even though this practice leaves chemical contaminants in soils. 

TCE has been linked to impacts on the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. 

In response to the report, the EPA said in a statement that it will “refine its approach to selecting and reviewing the scientific studies that are used to inform … chemical risk evaluations.”

The agency added that it is not using the approach evaluated in the report and that it will not use the approach again. 

“High quality, best available scientific data and studies are the foundation of our chemical risk evaluations,” said Michal Freedhoff, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in the statement. 

“Strengthening the process used to select this information will improve chemical safety and ensure our risk evaluations protect human health and the environment,” Freedhoff said. 

Tags chemicals EPA Soil contamination TCE United States Environmental Protection Agency
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