Safer chemicals policy watch

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Under the Trump Administration, EPA is making rapid and far-reaching changes to environmental regulations from rolling back mercury and air toxic standards for power plants to undermining the new law meant to review chemicals for safety before products hit the shelves.

Our policy watch will help keep you current. This month in policy:

  • Hearing on "Protecting Americans at risk of PFAS contamination and exposure” - The Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee held a legislative hearing on Wednesday, May 15 on a series of bills aimed at addressing perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) contamination. A video of the hearing, links to the associated bills, and transcripts of the testimony are available to the public on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce website.
  • Washington state governor to sign nation’s strongest law regulating toxics in products - Washington Governor Jay Inslee will sign precedent-setting legislation protecting people and orcas from toxic chemical pollution. After the law is signed, Washington will have the nation’s strongest policy regulating toxic chemicals in products, a major source of harmful chemicals in homes and environment. The new law prioritizes five chemical classes for action: PFAS, organohalogen flame retardants, phthalates, alkylphenol ethoxylates and bisphenols, and PCBs.
  • The world just took a major step to curb plastic pollution, but the U.S. refused to join effort - Nearly every country in the world except the United States took a historic step to curb plastic waste last week, when more than 180 nations agreed to add plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that regulates the movement of hazardous materials between countries. The U.S. is one of just two countries that has not ratified the 30-year-old treaty.
  • Bernhardt confirmed as interior secretary - The Senate confirmed David Bernhardt as secretary of the interior on a 56-41 vote. It's a post he has held on an acting basis since previous office holder Ryan Zinke resigned earlier in the year amid allegations of ethics misconduct. Democrats had criticized Bernhardt's nomination in part because of his long history as a lobbyist for the energy and agribusiness sectors. Environmentalists have expressed concern that he will continue working to expand extraction operations on public lands and roll back protections. Democrats have called for an investigation of Bernhardt's past conduct.