Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pallone wants White House to release PFCs report

New Jersey has some of strictest standards in country for regulating the contaminants, but environmentalist says DEP's regulation process has slowed

water quality test
Jon Hurdle reports for NJ Spotlight
Lawmakers and environmentalists are urging the federal government to release a report recommending tight new limits on a class of chemicals that New Jersey is playing a leading role in regulating.
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry indicated it is preparing to release a study saying that the PFC family of chemicals (perfluorochemicals), also known as PFAS, should be subject to much tighter restrictions than those advocated — but not required — by the Environmental Protection Agency.
That prompted officials at the EPA and the White House to warn of a public relations “nightmare” as they anticipated a clash between federal agencies over a matter of public health, according to emails obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists and recently published by some media outlets and advocacy groups.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), on Wednesday accused the White House of blocking the ATSDR study, and called for its release.
“Families throughout our country have a right to know about dangerous contaminants in their drinking water,” Pallone said in a statement. “The White House has once again shown that it cares more about public relations than public health by burying an HHS study that shows a class of toxic chemicals endanger human health at far lower levels than EPA previously considered safe.”

Pallone will ‘do everything’ to get report released

“While I am pleased that New Jersey already has standards close to the ATSDR recommendation, I will work with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee and throughout Congress to do everything within our power to ensure that the report is released,” Pallone said.
According to the internal EPA emails, White House officials expressed concern in January that tough new limits on PFCs were due to be proposed by the ATSDR, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services. Since ATSDR’s limits for two of the chemicals would be as much as 10 times lower than the advisory issued by EPA, that would be tough to explain to the public, according to one of the emails from an unnamed official at the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

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