Celebrating Our Agriculture Communities, Partnerships

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By Carrie Vicenta Meadows
Agriculture Advisor to Administrator Wheeler

As EPA recognizes our many partners as part of EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration, it is vital to highlight partners who touch our lives every day: our agriculture community. Now more than ever, Americans are appreciating the critical role that farmers have in our society. Farmers and ranchers are invaluable partners in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment. We at EPA, with the leadership of Administrator Wheeler, have focused on working hard to enhance and strengthen our partnership with farmers and ranchers.

One of the Trump Administration’s priorities is to engage more effectively with the agriculture community. Last year, we welcomed over 650 farmers and ranchers from across the country to visit EPA Headquarters — many for the first time. We have also launched the Smart Sectors program in all 10 of our regional offices to hear from a variety of sectors, including the agriculture community. We know the importance of hearing firsthand from producers on the issues impacting their day-to-day life.

As EPA’s Agriculture Advisor, I look forward to meeting with members of the agriculture community, but I know it takes more than meetings to constitute meaningful change in our communities. One of the Administrator Wheeler’s priorities for EPA has been to restore trust for our agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities. To truly understand what’s going on at farms and in fields across the country, Administrator Wheeler reinstated the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee in 2020 with full membership. This committee will provide valuable input on how EPA’s decisions impact rural America. Reinstating this committee, is another step toward restoring that trust and strengthening the voice of American agriculture at EPA.

We are also cultivating partnerships with the next generation of farmers. In 2019, Administrator Wheeler signed EPA’s first-ever agreement in the agency’s history with the National FFA Organization. This MOU reflects the importance of agricultural practices in promoting environmental stewardship and will help expand environmental education courses taught to FFA’s 670,000 student members.

We have made great strides at strengthening our relationship and restoring trust with the agriculture community, and we look forward to continuing to build on our partnership. EPA’s goal has always been and will continue to be promoting environmental stewardship, through working cooperatively with the public and this must include the agriculture community. As we reflect on EPA at 50, we celebrate our partnership with farmers and ranchers and our commitment to protecting the land, water and air, and recognize the continued work by American agriculture and rural America to protect our natural resources.

I’d like to invite you to reach out to our team of agricultural liaisons at EPA. Contact your Regional Ag Advisor or email us at Headquarters ruraloutreach@epa.gov.

 

About the Author: Carrie Vicenta Meadows is the Agriculture Advisor to Administrator Wheeler. The role of the Agriculture Advisor’s Office is acting as a primary advocate and liaison for U.S. agriculture at EPA. Before coming to EPA, Carrie is a 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill where she worked extensively on agricultural policy.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

TSCA is ‘4’ the Future

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

I am a strong believer that the future depends on what we do in the present. The 2016 Lautenberg Act amendments to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) set the stage for EPA’s work over the past four years to build a new regulatory program from the ground up, informed by the past and inspired by the future.

Under the Trump Administration, we have set up the processes, policies, and resources to review over 40,000 existing chemicals in the marketplace and any new chemicals that companies want to bring to market. We’ve taken the necessary time to do this in a way that increases transparency, produces high quality work using sound science, and ensures that Americans are protected from unreasonable risks. We’re learning from our experiences and adapting as we move forward; our goal is to transparently carry out a chemical safety program for our nation. We know our work will benefit public health and the environment, as well as facilitate innovation in the chemistry for years to come.

Other examples of how we’ve been working towards a safer, heathier future under TSCA include:

With these and many more important accomplishments under our belt, we intend to focus the second half of 2020 on:

  • Finalizing the remaining nine risk existing chemical risk evaluations, so we know where to focus future risk management rulemaking efforts to reduce risks from these chemicals.
  • Issuing final scope documents for the next 20 risk evaluations, so the public knows which uses our future risk evaluations of these chemicals will cover.
  • Issuing restrictions on five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, to ensure future generations won’t have to deal with the consequences of these chemicals that build up and persist in the environment.
  • Finalizing our proposal to strengthen lead regulations, to protect children from the health effects of lead exposure and help them achieve their full future potential.
  • Gathering important, best available scientific evidence on the next 20 chemicals, and others on the 2014 TSCA work plan, so that when we begin work on a chemical, we have a complete set of information on exposure and hazards.

Looking back over the past few years and looking ahead to the future, I think it’s important to focus on our common goals. I know we’re all working on TSCA to protect public health and the planet – right now and for the future. What do you do TSCA “4”?

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Protecting Public Health and the Planet Through Pollution Prevention and Green Chemistry

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

When you think about how the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention supports EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment, the first thing that might come to mind is our work to review the safety of pesticides and other chemicals. Another important aspect of our work is finding ways to stop pollution before it starts—pollution prevention—and encouraging the development of environmentally friendly products and technologies through green chemistry.

One way we do this is through the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. For 24 years, these awards have recognized innovation by American businesses and researchers that redesign chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and manufacture of hazardous substances. These innovations help keep businesses globally competitive, prevent pollution at its source, and protect human health and the environment.

This year’s awards have special meaning because it’s also the 30th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act, which focuses industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. Green chemistry and pollution prevention work hand-in-hand to stop pollution at its source, resulting in less waste, economic growth, and protection of public health.

Our efforts to recognize, encourage, and speed the adoption of green chemistry have produced real results. Through 2019, Green Chemistry Challenge Award winning technologies have provided big opportunities for pollution prevention, including:

  • Eliminating 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents each year—enough to fill almost 3,800 railroad tank cars or a train nearly 47 miles long.
  • Saving 21 billion gallons of water each year—the amount used by 820,000 people annually.
  • Eliminating the release of 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents to air each year—equal to taking 810,000 automobiles off the road.

These results are proof that the combination of green chemistry and pollution prevention can produce powerful results for public health, the environment, and the economy.

For more information on this year’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners, visit: www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-winners-2020-green-chemistry-challenge-awards.

Learn more about green chemistry and pollution prevention at: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry and www.epa.gov/p2.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Tribal and EPA accomplishments over the Last 50 years

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By Scott Mason

Scott Mason official portraitDuring my tenure at the United States EPA, I have had the pleasure of meeting with many tribes across this beautiful country. I’ve listened carefully to the views, concerns and plans of tribal leaders, and on these visits, I’ve witnessed first-hand the majestic mountains, coastal plains and rugged mesas – to name a few of the geographical features that make up Indian country. As we mark EPA’s 50th anniversary, our commitment to protect human health and the environment in Indian country remains unyielding.

As a proud citizen and enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, I am aware of the unique challenges that individual tribes face. Moreover, we recognize the COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately impacting tribal communities. Tribes are grappling with the difficult task of implementing environmental programs on their tribal lands, while alleviating the impacts from the pandemic. EPA, under the Trump Administration, is continuing our commitment to help tribes protect public health and the environment.

This year, as we celebrate EPA’s 50th anniversary, I am pleased to highlight the important environmental progress tribes have made over time with EPA’s assistance, especially when considering the unique issues with which they are confronted.

Since joining the EPA, I have always kept in mind that tribal governments and environmental agencies do not exist as adjuncts to the federal government. The relationship with tribes 50 years ago, at the creation of our agency, was very different. Today, tribes have greater experience building environmental programs and are more sophisticated and robust than ever before. Over the years, EPA has aimed to create a legacy of respectful, government-to-government interaction with tribes. Under the Trump Administration, we are focused on making this legacy as successful as it has ever been.

Additionally, in some areas of the country where tribal communities are economically distressed, President Trump has led efforts to vitalize these previously forgotten places. I’m proud of the work that our agency is doing in conjunction with the White House to ensure that tribes located in Opportunity Zones are able to multiply the impact of President Trump’s tax reform package and attract more economic development.

For years, American Indian nations have taken on a greater role in environmental protection on their own lands, including through our process for delegating regulatory authority to tribes, called Treatment in a Similar Manner as a State (TAS). This delegation process provides tribes essentially the same authority in Indian country that states have within their respective borders. I’m especially proud that since January 2017 there has been a 100% increase in regulatory program delegation approvals when compared to the previous four-year period.

EPA salutes the progress tribal nations have made and recognizes the importance of our continued commitment to improving access to safe drinking water and other environmental protections in Indian country, which are all the more important amid the current pandemic.

These accomplishments are just a few of the EPA-Tribal milestones realized in the last 50 years. We owe these achievements to the dedicated work of EPA and tribal professionals across the country as these tangible results demonstrate the success of the EPA-Tribal partnerships. Together, we are building a cleaner and healthier environment for Indian country.

 

About the author: Scott Mason is Director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO). AIEO lead efforts across the Agency to protect human health and the environment in Indian country. Before coming to EPA, Scott was a vice president and the executive director of federal programs at The University of Oklahoma (OU), where he led state and federal relations for all three of the university’s campuses. Prior to joining OU, Scott served on the staff of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, as well as on her gubernatorial transition team. Scott is a proud citizen and enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and is 5th generation western Oklahoman.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Appreciating the Chesapeake Bay

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By Dana Aunkst

Critter of the Month – the Snowberry clearwing. (Photo by Will Parson, Chesapeake Bay Program)

Critter of the Month – the Snowberry clearwing. (Photo by Will Parson, Chesapeake Bay Program)

It’s Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week – a good time to learn more about our nation’s largest estuary and the commitment by EPA and its partners to restore it.

There’s a variety of information online – from quizzes for students to captivating videos for everyone.  Here’s a selection of offerings:

And for some fun student activities to learn more about the broader environment, check out these EPA games, quizzes and videos.

While it’s a week to become more aware of the Bay and its natural wonders, it’s also Effective Partnerships Month as part of EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

EPA is working with six states, the District of Columbia and sister federal agencies, among other partners, to restore the Chesapeake Bay and the local rivers and streams that connect to it.  You can learn more about that partnership here and pick up some good tips on how you can help in the restoration effort.

 

About the Author: Dana Aunkst is the director of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The Acid Rain Program: A Success Story

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By Christopher Grundler

This May, as EPA celebrates “Improving the Nation’s Air” Month, we salute the resounding success story of the Acid Rain Program (ARP). Since its inception in 1995, the ARP has earned widespread acclaim due to dramatic reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, extensive environmental and human health benefits, and far lower-than-expected costs. The ARP’s SO2 cap and trade program, the first nationwide experiment in emissions trading, has been a victory for policy innovation, stakeholder collaboration, and human health and the environment.

Congress created the ARP in Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, in response to deterioration of ecosystem health in lakes, streams, and forests across the United States and Canada, particularly in northeastern North America. To achieve this goal, the SO2 program set a permanent cap on the total amount of SO2 that can be emitted by power plants in the contiguous U.S. and allows emissions trading so sources can choose their preferred method of compliance. The final cap for SO2 emissions was set at a very ambitious target in 2010: 8.95 million tons, or about half of the 1980 level of 17.26 million tons. The ARP also required NOx emission reductions under a more traditional rate-based regulatory program, representing about a 27% reduction from 1990 levels. Just five years into ARP implementation in 2000, SO2 emissions were already down to 11.2 million tons and NOx emissions reductions had exceeded their target.

Bean Pond, a Long-Term Monitoring site in Somerset Co., Maine, is one of twenty-six lakes in the New England region that shows improving sulfate trends from 1990-2018.

Bean Pond, a Long-Term Monitoring site in Somerset Co., Maine, is one of twenty-six lakes in the New England region that shows improving sulfate trends from 1990-2018.

EPA is proud of the successes of the ARP and its subsequent interstate emission reduction programs and the marked progress those programs have achieved in cleaning up SO2 and NOx. In 2019, annual SO2 emissions measured only 0.97 million tons, a 94% reduction from 1990 levels. Annual NOX emissions measured 0.88 million tons, a reduction of 86% from 1990 levels. While market forces in the power sector – including significant increases in the availability of low-cost natural gas – have put downward pressure on emissions, by 2019, 82% of coal-fired power plants had installed advanced SO2 controls and 68% had installed advanced NOX controls.

For those of you who don’t have memories of the 1980s, allow the data to explain how the ecosystem and air quality have improved over the last 40 years. The national average of SO2 annual ambient concentrations decreased 93% between 1980 and 2018. Wet sulfate deposition – a common indicator of acid rain – decreased 86% reduction from 2000-2002 to 2016-2018. During that same time period, data from EPA’s Long-Term Monitoring program showed an 81% improvement in the number of monitored streams and lakes that experienced critical load exceedances, an indicator that reveals when acid deposition levels are causing harmful effects.

The human health benefits have been just as significant. A 2011 analysis of the benefits and costs of the 1990 Clean Air Act estimated that adult mortality risk decreased significantly due to the improved air quality, with up to 230,000 premature deaths avoided in 2020 as a result of lowered SO2 and NOx pollution levels.

Emissions trading programs have evolved over time to address changing industry and environmental challenges. These programs have been successful, producing near-perfect compliance, along with emissions and operations data at an unprecedented level of accuracy and detail. Annual Progress Reports and numerous tools enable anyone from power plant operators to students to access and analyze data to provide insights from the national level to our own backyards. EPA just posted the latest data, for the first quarter of 2020.

The core principles of accountability, transparency, and results have characterized every iteration of our regulatory efforts since the ARP started it all. By using ARP as a model, these foundational elements should and will guide EPA’s programs as they continue to fulfill the Agency’s primary mission of protecting human health and the environment.

 

About the author: Christopher Grundler is the Director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs. He has held multiple senior leadership positions during his forty years of service with the agency, including his recent tenure as the Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Happy Memories of EPA’s Earth Days Past

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By Joanne Amorosi

Earth Day comes and goes, but for me, I can say I have had some memorable and exceptional celebrations as a result of my 26 years at the EPA.

25th Earth Day celebration at the National Zoo with Flossie Fluorescent, Green Lights Program.

25th Earth Day celebration at the National Zoo with Flossie Fluorescent, Green Lights Program.

When I came to work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one of the first things I was asked to do was to create an environmental character that could help to promote the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. I came up with the idea for creating Flossie Fluorescent, a 6 ft. 3 in. light bulb with long eyelashes and lightning bolts on her high-top tennis shoes.

After being trained on how to interact with children while wearing a costume, to do the princess wave, and talk about lighting efficiency, I was ready to assume this new persona and jumped right into appearing at Earth Day events and in elementary school classrooms.

During the 25th Earth Day anniversary I had the opportunity to appear as Flossie at the National Zoo, and on the Georgetown waterfront with Dennis Weaver, a famous actor and environmentalist supporting our agency’s efforts.

Over the years I have dressed up as the Garbage Gremlin, talking about landfills and waste prevention while I threw fast food containers that were attached to my fur costume on the floor. I donned the Pandy Pollution Panda costume and simply waved, as characters with their faces covered are not supposed to talk, but I usually did.

There were years spent in a humble tent on the National Mall battling severe rainstorms common to Washington, D.C., in the springtime, trying to prevent our handouts from getting wet while eating soggy hot dogs. However, a spring storm couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm and mission to spread the word about Earth Day!

Some of my most memorable Earth Day events on the National Mall were the amazing people who turned out for the occasion. I was thrilled to hear James Taylor perform, but had to hold back my daughter from rushing the stage when Leonardo DiCaprio spoke! It was always nice and a great learning experience to have my daughter attend and help me at these events.

Some years the events were smaller, held primarily for EPA employees and tourists that passed by our display tables outside EPA’s Headquarters building.

40th Anniversary on the National Mall as Slim Bin, EPA’s recycling environmental character.

40th Anniversary on the National Mall as Slim Bin, EPA’s recycling environmental character.

I particularly loved being Slim Bin, a happy go lucky recycling bin. Probably my fondest memory was during the 40th anniversary. EPA had a large tent and presence on the National Mall. I spent most days in the hot sun dressed up as a recycling bin competing with Woodsie the Owl for attention. But when the characters from the Avatar movie showed up on stilts, and they posed for photos with both me and Woodsie, I knew the little recycling bin had finally made the big time!

No matter when or how I celebrated Earth Day, I never forgot its purpose in encouraging environmental stewardship and highlighting EPA’s efforts to protect the environment! Although this year’s Earth Day celebration looks different than in years past, I am so encouraged by EPA employees who have stepped up to keep our tradition going by sharing their at-home celebrations online. Earth Day has even given me the opportunity to share my own backyard environment with the world! I hope everyone takes time this Earth Day to pause and reflect on the past 50 years and all the progress that has been made for our planet.

 

EPA@50 icon with "Progress for a Stronger Future" theme

About the author: Joanne Amorosi is the Communications Director for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. She has worked at the EPA for 26 years in eight of its program offices and for The Chesapeake Bay Program in Region 3.  

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Get the Facts on EPA’s TSCA Risk Evaluations

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

It’s important to get as many facts as you can when making a decision. It’s no different for us in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. When we make a decision about whether or not a chemical poses unreasonable risks to public health or the environment, it’s imperative that we consider all kinds of facts like the effects of the chemical on humans or the environment, the severity of the hazard, who is exposed (including any sensitive subpopulations like children), and how people or the environment are exposed under the uses of the chemical.

We also must follow the law. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to determine whether chemicals in the marketplace present unreasonable risks to health or the environment. It also requires that our risk evaluations are transparent and include a robust systematic review of the available science.

EPA is working as quickly as possible to develop and issue our risk evaluations in accordance with the law. The 2016 amendments to TSCA and its implementing regulations set new, higher standards for EPA to follow when evaluating the potential risks from existing chemicals. Ensuring that our risk evaluations meet the highest standards will help expedite any necessary future risk management actions.

While we’re only in the beginning stages of our risk evaluation efforts, the fact is that the findings we’ve made so far may change. After publishing a draft risk evaluation, we get comments from the public and through our scientific peer review process and then we issue a final risk evaluation. This final risk evaluation may differ from the draft as we account for the peer review and public input. After completing the final risk evaluation, the law gives us up to two years to issue regulations to address identified unreasonable risks.

You also might be wondering, why doesn’t EPA just ban some chemicals immediately. TSCA does allow us to place restrictions on chemicals that are an imminent hazard, meaning the chemical could cause widespread injury to human health or the environment. The fact is, the information we’ve reviewed for the draft risk evaluations we’ve completed so far, doesn’t indicate that this action is necessary.

It is worth noting however, we did take decisive action in March 2019, when we banned consumer sales of paint and coating removal products containing methylene chloride to protect public health.

Another fact is that if you’re concerned about using any chemicals, there are things you can do right now to limit your exposure. We strongly recommend that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet. To the extent that consumers want to avoid exposure to certain chemicals, they should consider not using products that contain those chemicals. But the fact remains, that because all our risk findings to date are still preliminary, the public and regulated community are not required to take any action based on our draft risk evaluations.

And, the last fact I’ll share with you is that the health and safety of people and the planet is always at the heart of our decision-making and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as our chemicals continue to go through these risk evaluations.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Mid-Atlantic Farmers Bring Food to the Table

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West Virginia Cattle Operation (Courtesy Will Parson, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

West Virginia Cattle Operation (Courtesy Will Parson, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

By Cosmo Servidio

March 27, 2020: This Week is National Ag Week – an opportunity for us to celebrate our farmers and ranchers for all that they do to ensure our food remains safe and plentiful for consumers.

Farmers produce food for our local communities – and the world – while being responsible stewards of the land. I always say that farmers and ranchers were the first environmentalists. They know that healthy farms depend on clean water and clean water depends on healthy, well-managed farms. The conservation practices they put on their land improve farm efficiency, the health of our soils, and the health of our local streams.

Every year, $15.6 billion of agricultural products are sold in the Mid-Atlantic region from over 135,000 farms and 21 million acres of cropland. Pennsylvania is number 1 in the country in mushroom production and number 2 for certified organic sales. The Delmarva Peninsula is home to many Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia farmers and a top chicken-producing region in the country. And West Virginia has the highest percentage of family-owned farms in the nation – with poultry and beef being a big part of their sales. Agriculture is a vital part of our region, our culture, and our economy.

Over the past year I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet with over 1,000 farmers throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. There is nothing like being out on a farm, talking to farm families, and seeing firsthand how farmers are stewards of the land, true innovators, and resilient in the face of many challenges.

During National Ag Week we want to show our gratitude to farmers and ranchers, and all those who are part of the food supply chain, for all that they do to put food on our tables and protect our land and water. Our federal family will continue to support their efforts to achieve those essential goals.

 

About the author: Cosmo Servidio is the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Increasing Innovation and Access to Information on New Chemicals

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Innovation is essential to our everyday lives. It allows our economy to grow and thrive. It creates efficiencies and increased value for businesses. And, for all of us, a lot of products like smart phones, detergents, and automobiles keep getting better because companies develop new chemical substances that improve the performance of materials and products.

In the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, part of our job is working with stakeholders to bring new chemistries to market in a way that balances the safety of public health and the environment without stifling innovation and ensuring the right level of information transparency. We are committed to providing the public with information on chemicals, including how they are used, any potential risks, and steps we’re taking to prevent those risks. Over the past year, we’ve taken unprecedented steps to ensure we’re meeting our legal requirements while increasing the amount of information made publicly available on new chemicals.

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – our nation’s primary chemical management law – we’re required to review and decide on new chemical submissions within 90 days of receipt. TSCA gave us an aggressive goal to strive towards, and I’m proud to say we’re making great progress. Our new chemicals statistics reflect a significant improvement from just one year ago:

  • 38% decrease in cases over 180 days (229 current; 370 one year ago)
  • 76% decrease in cases over 90 days (32 current; 131 one year ago)

We have worked diligently to improve the quality and quantity of chemical information shared with and available to the public, including posting all new chemical determinations on our website, developing a new status tracker for individual cases, and implementing process changes to expedite the publishing of information related to new chemical notices.

Starting in May 2019, we began new chemicals submissions in EPA’s ChemView tool. This includes the original submission and any updates and attachments submitted to EPA, including health and safety studies, safety data sheets, and confidential business information (CBI) substantiation documents. We have committed to publishing the submissions within 45 days of receipt and have consistently done so since May 30, 2019.

We’re also working hard to ensure that the information companies claim as CBI meets the legal criteria laid out in TSCA. This is an important issue because we’re legally obligated to keep some information confidential, and we must ensure that we’re complying with those requirements. Last December, we published information on all the final CBI determinations we’ve made under TSCA and committed to updating this information quarterly. The information on CBI determinations published in December 2019, included the results of CBI determinations on 262 new chemicals submissions.

I’m proud of the work our dedicated expert staff have done to enhance transparency around our processes for approving new chemicals. More information is available online on new chemicals today than ever before, and it’s our goal to continue to improve processes, increase efficiency, and keep this trend going.

Learn more about our new chemicals program at https://www.epa.gov/reviewing-new-chemicals-under-toxic-substances-control-act-tsca.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.