There are more than 70,000 chemicals on the market that pose health risks to American citizens every day. The unfortunate part is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only banned less than ten of those dangerous chemicals. The production of these chemicals continues every day without much attention to their effects on the life of millions of Americans.
The EPA is the agency charged with the responsibility of regulating dangerous chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. But the agency has not properly utilized its powers to crack down on manufacturers violating the act. It has only managed to ban a few chemicals while a majority of harmful chemicals continue to be produced.
It is difficult for companies to tell EPA that one or two of their chemicals is harmful. They won’t do it because they are in business. It is up to EPA to step up their game and ensure that all harmful chemicals are outlawed from production.
Here are four chemicals that need to be banned:
You would think that EPA would have already outlawed the use of lead in items we are exposed to every day. It is surprising because the dangerous effects of this chemical have been in the public domain for the longest time. It is true that the federal government has taken some steps to minimize public exposure to lead by banning house paint containing lead in 1978. It also phased out lead gasoline by 1996.
However, this doesn’t mean that the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a total ban on the toxic chemical that has been proved to cause decreased IQ, delayed learning and impaired kidney function, among other effects. According to EPA, the so-called lead-free pipes manufactured before 2011 may contain up to 8% of the toxin.
Besides, some of the kid’s products imported to the country are allowed to have a hundred parts per million of lead. Some furniture is also allowed to have lead levels of up to 90 percent per million, something that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have declared unsafe.
It is surprising that the federal government hasn’t outlawed the production of asbestos despite overwhelming evidence of its harmful effects. The Environmental Protection Agency attempted to ban asbestos in 1991, but the courts overturned the decision following a lawsuit filed by the industry opponents. They accused the environmental agency of attempting to remove their products from the market.
The building and construction industry has for many years used asbestos to manufacture its products. It became clear in the 1940s that asbestos causes cancer. It was discovered that the chemical caused certain types of cancers, such as mesothelioma, which affects the abdomen and chest. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 people die because of exposure to asbestos in the United States alone.
This chemical is believed to trigger thoughts of dead things. The chemical is more commonly used than you can imagine. It is a colorless, flammable gas that contains a strong odor and is often found in manufactured wood products that may be sitting in your room as we speak. Besides, you can also be exposed to formaldehyde when it is released from industrial processes like natural gas combustion.
Most homeowners in the United States depend on this gas to generate heat during winter, oblivious of the dangerous effects they are exposing themselves to. This is because exposure to this chemical can lead to neurological effects, asthma and potential cancer. But despite the dangers posed by this chemical, EPA had delayed outlawing its production.
The fact that this class of chemicals hasn’t been banned is a clear demonstration that the federal government has failed to protect its citizens. Per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, entail several chemicals that scientists are still grappling to understand. Nonetheless, evidence reveals that PFAS is not safe at all. It has been linked to thyroid problems, cancer, infertility and much more. They are also referred to as “forever chemicals” because they can exist in the environment almost forever.
Companies, like Allied Chemical Corporation, that are not diligent in ensuring the safety of their coworkers, often end up with a lawsuit. It is important for the Environmental Protection Agency to work hand in hand with other stakeholders to ensure that all harmful chemicals are outlawed from production.