CPR Archive for Lena Pons

EPA Should Move Forward on Naming Priority Chemicals

by Lena Pons | October 11, 2011

EPA’s chemical management efforts have been under attack on every front. Chemical safety was one of Lisa Jackson’s priorities from her first day as EPA administrator. But during her tenure, efforts to improve chemicals policy at the agency have been met with fierce resistance. One recent attack was on EPA’s efforts to identify priority chemicals for risk assessment and risk management. 

Jackson has already tried one strategy to beef up the agency’s response to hazardous chemicals through the Chemical Action Plans. The plans quickly became a target for chemical industry groups, and in August, EPA announced that it was scrapping the program, and published a discussion guide for a new approach to prioritizing chemicals for risk assessment and potential regulation. EPA recently hosted a public discussion blog on principles for identifying priority chemicals for review and assessment. 

Despite the reset, EPA’s discussion guide covers mostly familiar territory on toxics. EPA’s proposed two-step process would draw from existing sources of chemical hazard and exposure data, including EPA’s beleaguered Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS); the Toxics Release Inventory’s Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic rule; the International Agency for Research on Cancer; and the National Toxicology Program, and then produce a “first pass” list of chemicals to target for additional risk assessment or risk management action. Then once it produces a list, it will seek additional information to determine which of these chemicals should be prioritized for further risk assessment and potential regulation.

My colleague Matt Shudtz posted a ...

White House Review of "Chemicals of Concern" List A Full Year Past Due

by Lena Pons | September 08, 2011
In May 2010, EPA sent a draft “Chemicals of Concern” list, including bisphenol A (BPA) and five other chemicals, to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. The proposed list would be the first time EPA has used its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to publish such a list of chemicals that “may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” Today marks one year since OIRA exceeded the 120-day deadline ...

Regulatory Plans Show Agencies at Risk of Failing to Finish Numerous Critical Rules During President Obama's First Term

by Lena Pons | July 18, 2011
In April, CPR released a paper that looked at 12 critical rulemaking activities that we urged the Obama administration to finish by June 2012. The new regulatory agendas released by the agencies earlier this month show that instead of moving forward, the agencies are often slowing down.  Contrary to the “tsunami” of regulations that the Chamber of Commerce claims is hampering economic recovery, this is a molasses flow that will delay life-saving public protections for workers, air breathers and water drinkers.  ...

Some Pleasant Surprises in Agency Regulatory Plans

by Lena Pons | July 13, 2011
Last week, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget released the semiannual regulatory agenda. I pointed out that the agenda, which contains the regulatory agencies’ planned actions, was quite late. Although the plans share problems from past years, like simply pushing back the target dates for regulatory actions, there are some pleasant surprises. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is moving forward with some proactive regulatory responses to the Toyota recalls of ...

Looking Back, But How Much Looking Ahead? Agencies Release Regulatory Agendas Months Late

by Lena Pons | July 07, 2011
The Administration has been busy promoting President Obama’s new approach to regulatory review, which required federal regulatory agencies to produce plans for how they would review existing regulations and look for regulations to cut. But while the mad dash to find regulations the administration can trot out as misguided or outdated continued, the agencies were delayed in releasing plans about what they want to do proactively to protect workers, children, and the environment. As our friend Celeste Monforton over at The ...

New CPR White Paper Tackles Industry Myths About BPA

by Lena Pons | June 02, 2011
For the last two decades, scientists have amassed evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) poses a threat to human health. BPA is a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic, can liners for food and beverages, and thermal paper used for register receipts. It is used in so many applications that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found traces of BPA in 93 percent of people it tested. Although scientists have targeted BPA as a public health concern, plastics ...

New CPR White Paper Proposes 47 Priority Chemicals for EPA's IRIS Toxic Chemical Database

by Lena Pons | December 20, 2010
In October, EPA requested nominations for substances that it should evaluate under the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Today CPR releases Setting Priorities for IRIS: 47 Chemicals that Should Move to the Head of the Risk-Assessment Line -- a paper that we've submitted to EPA as our nominations for priority chemicals. Following up on our recent IRIS reform white paper, which made recommendations for how to improve the IRIS process and complete more reviews of basic toxicology information, CPR has completed ...

Procedural Maze Continues for Vehicle Efficiency Regulation

by Lena Pons | December 01, 2010
Update: EPA and NHTSA have issued the Supplemental Notice of Intent. The regulatory process is often complex: agencies must balance opportunities for public comment, complex scientific information, and economic analysis, all while trying to craft a program that fulfills a legal mandate. But when it comes to crafting proposals for vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, the process has become an administrative nightmare. In May, President Obama announced plans for the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ...

CPR White Paper Identifies Hundreds of Toxic Chemicals Insufficiently Studied by EPA

by Lena Pons | November 09, 2010
A new CPR white paper released today evaluates EPA’s performance in improving its database of human health information on toxic substances. The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) contains “profiles” with bottom-line health effects information for 540 substances; federal regulators, as well as state and local governments and regulated industry itself, rely on the assessments to make decisions in protecting the public from harm. In Corrective Lenses for IRIS: Additional Reforms to Improve EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (press release), CPR found that ...

Sen. Landrieu's Counterproductive Hold on the Lew Nomination

by Lena Pons | September 29, 2010
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) currently has a hold on Jacob Lew’s confirmation to become the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, and says she won't release it until the Obama Administration ends the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling. She said that while Lew “clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve…he lacks sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast.” Sen. Landrieu seems to be ignoring the impacts of too hastily allowing ...

American Chemistry Council's Request for Correction on BPA Action Plan Exceeds the Limits of the Data Quality Act

by Lena Pons | August 06, 2010
The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade association that represents chemical industry interests and is heavily connected to the plastics industry, filed a Request for Correction Monday on the EPA's Chemical Action Plan for Bisphenol A (BPA). The request, filed under a provision of the Data Quality Act (also referred to as the Information Quality Act), is truly astonishing and bears noting. In addition to standard requests that EPA statements be toned down or removed due to conflicting studies, ACC makes several ...

Auto Safety Bill Takes Some Bruises in the Senate; Automakers Try for More

by Lena Pons | July 27, 2010
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 (H.R. 5381/S. 3302), the primary legislation on the table in response to the Toyota unintended acceleration fiasco, went through the committee process in the House and Senate earlier this summer. The bills, as introduced, included some tough provisions to respond to gaps exposed by the Toyota episode. Among important reforms included in the bills currently: More public access to NHTSA’s early warning information database; standards for accelerator control and brake override; a standard ...

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