EPA veils hazardous substances | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


EPA veils hazardous substances

Chemical Fallout | Watchdog Report
EPA veils hazardous substances
By Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Dec. 20, 2008 10:53 p.m.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency routinely allows companies to keep new information about their chemicals secret, including compounds that have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory problems, the Journal Sentinel has found.

The newspaper examined more than 2,000 filings in the EPA's registry of dangerous chemicals for the past three years. In more than half the cases, the EPA agreed to keep the chemical name a secret. In hundreds of other cases, it allowed the company filing the report to keep its name and address confidential.

This is despite a federal law calling for public notice of any new information through the EPA's program monitoring chemicals that pose substantial risk. The whole idea of the program is to warn the public of newfound dangers.

The EPA's rules are supposed to allow confidentiality only "under very limited circumstances."

Legal experts and environmental advocates say the practice of "sanitizing," or blacking out, this information not only strips vital information from the public, it violates the agency's own law.

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