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Local News

Reps’ bill would close health risk loopholes

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, were among a group of Illinois federal legislators that introduced a bill to close loopholes that allow the Environmental Protection Agency to hide health risks of chemicals from the public.

They joined Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Brad Schneider in introducing the legislation, called the “Expanding Transparency of Information and Safeguarding Toxics Act of 2018.” The bill would increase transparency, data and public health requirements for chemicals that might present a public health risk, according to a news release.

“The EPA does critical work to protect Americans’ health and well-being and safeguard our air and water,” Foster said. “We need to ensure that when the EPA determines a chemical to be carcinogenic – such as ethylene oxide – this information is communicated effectively and efficiently.”

Foster said the bill would ensure the EPA use the best available scientific data to evaluate chemicals in a “transparent and methodical manner” and communicate their findings with appropriate federal, state and local officials.

“The EPA has far too many rules on the books that are years out of date and do not protect public health,” Lipinski said. “I’m proud to work with Senator Duckworth and Congressman Foster to cosponsor the EtO is Toxic Act, which will hold the EPA accountable and force the agency to keep its pollution regulations in sync with the latest science.”

The bill stems from the EPA’s acknowledgment that ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen, back in 2016. At the time, the EPA failed to revise its emission standards. Ethylene oxide primarily is used to produce other chemicals and is found in products such as antifreeze and sterilizing agents.

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