Boston (June 1, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its problem formulation documents. These documents establish the scope of the risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals the EPA was required to evaluate under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which updated the Toxic Substances Control Act. The documents show that EPA is not going to take many sources of exposure to the chemicals into account in its evaluations. As a result, the risks that these chemicals pose to the public will be severely underestimated.


“Every day, Americans are exposed to deadly substances like asbestos that are strongly linked to cancer and other devastating diseases without seeing a sufficient response from the government,” said Senator Markey. “In a bipartisan compromise, Congress moved to patch up the holes in our chemical review system when it updated the Toxic Substances Control Act. But Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration are presiding over an attack on not just the spirit, but also the actual content of the reform law. By moving to ignore the health concerns of disposal and past uses of asbestos and other dangerous chemicals, the EPA is flagrantly disregarding the fact that it is statutorily required to look at the full lifecycle of these chemicals, from manufacture to disposal. Thousands of people die from asbestos-related cancers every year. Asbestos and other toxic substances will continue to contaminate our environment because Trump administration policies are contaminating the EPA.”


In December 2015, Senator Markey released the report, “Failing the Grade: Asbestos in America’s Schools” based on an investigation that queried all 50 states on the management of asbestos hazards in school buildings. The report, based on responses from 20 states, reveals that even basic information such as how many schools continue to contain asbestos-containing materials is often either unknown or unreported.