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Letters to the Editor

Closer eye on chemicals is sorely needed

Are you as alarmed as I am by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to kick the can down the road on toxic chemicals? 

On Dec. 19, news broke that his agency has indefinitely postponed bans on certain uses of three dangerous chemicals: methylene chloride, N-Methylpyrrolidone, and trichloroethylene.

These chemicals are linked to kidney and liver cancers, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, developmental neurotoxicity, and other health problems. You can find some of them on the shelves of your local hardware store.

Protecting American consumers and workers from dangerous chemicals is at the heart of the EPA’s mission, and action on these toxic chemicals is long overdue! Their health risks are serious and well documented.

In fact, inhalation of paint strippers has been linked to at least 50 deaths since the 1980s, as evidenced by a 21-year-old in Tennessee who died recently after stripping a bathtub with a product containing methylene chloride.

Delaying these rules will needlessly expose 2 million workers and consumers to these hazardous chemicals. Restricting uses of these chemicals would seem to be a no-brainer – unless, of course, the brains of the EPA come straight out of the chemical lobby. Yet, EPA Administrator Pruitt and his team have prioritized the chemical lobby ahead of our health.

Workers and families need more, not less protection from toxic chemicals. The EPA should end this dangerous inaction immediately.

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