An analysis of the EPA’s chemical endangerment finding in the 2016 Chemical Safety Board report, published in April, found that the agency has “shown no intention of reducing the toxicological risk” posed by arsenic, as proposed by the committee’s report.
This week, the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee issued a report on arsenic, the chemical that is considered a “likely” human carcinogen by the World Health Organization and is found in the blood and urine of many Americans, as well as in the lungs of those who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The report also notes that arsenic has been found in drinking water in some areas and in some samples of water from a number of locations around the country.
The Committee’s report also noted that the EPA did not include a warning label on the EPA-recommended arsenic-containing products that the chemical is a known carcinogen.
As a result, it found that, even though the EPA has a “strong interest in reducing the chemical risk posed by the use of arsenic,” it has failed to make any public announcements regarding arsenic safety.
The committee report also concluded that the toxicology panel’s report, as written, was not sufficient to establish a reasonable likelihood that arsenic is a human carcinogenic substance.
“While the toxicity and carcinogenicity assessment for arsenic was clearly inadequate, the Committee’s analysis also raised questions about whether the arsenic toxicity and cancer risk assessment provided by the Panel was sufficiently specific to provide a reasonable basis for the agency to adopt a policy decision to exclude arsenic from the product label,” the report reads.
“The Committee’s conclusion was that, given the lack of specific information regarding the carcinogen and toxicological risks posed by arsenals in the EPA chemical endangerments assessment, the agency’s current decision to include arsenic as a ‘likely human carcinogens’ product is not a prudent or appropriate action.”
The EPA has also received a number recent complaints about the agency, including a letter from former EPA head Gina McCarthy in December, who wrote that the administration “continues to misrepresent its chemical endangerement decision making process and mislead the public about how it conducts chemical hazard analyses.”
The letter was shared with Axios by a former EPA official.
McCarthy said the EPA is “focusing on protecting public health and safety while also being transparent about the safety risks associated with these chemicals.”