EPA Should Protect People, Not Polluters

EPA response countdown

54 different PFAS chemicals have been found in human blood, drinking water, groundwater, and locally produced food around the Chemours Company plant in the North Carolina community of Fayetteville and downstream in the Cape Fear River.  Chemours conducted minimal health and safety testing on these chemicals and emissions and discharges spanning decades have left the surrounding community searching for answers about the risks they’re exposed to daily.

In response, six public health and environmental justice organizations submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding that it take long overdue action to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) pollution in North Carolina Cape Fear communities. The petition asks EPA to use its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require Chemours to fund comprehensive health and environmental testing on PFAS manufactured at its production facility in Fayetteville. Chemours is a spinoff of Dupont, a company with a legacy of contaminating communities with dangerous PFAS.

It’s unconscionable that the chemical industry has made billions of dollars on PFAS chemicals while failing to do the scientific testing to know whether they’re even safe and instead used people as Guinea pigs. The EPA must use the authority Congress gave it when it amended TSCA in 2016 to require Chemours to conduct the necessary testing of the PFAS chemicals it has released into these Cape Fear communities.

The communities of Cape Fear who have been exposed to these PFAS chemicals for many years deserve to know the potential health effects. 

Review the full petition and Frequently Asked Questions and read more about it in the North Carolina Coastal Review.

Meet the Co-Petitioners

Center for Environmental Health has joined five grassroots groups in North Carolina in the fight to protect public and environmental health from toxic PFAS “forever chemicals.”  Watch the petitioners discuss submitting petition and learn more about the groups below.

 

Cape Fear River Watch

Cape Fear River Watch is working to protect and improve the water quality of the Cape Fear River Basin for all people through education, advocacy and action, with a proven track record of success. Follow them on Twitter!

Clean Cape Fear

 

Clean Cape Fear is an alliance of established advocacy groups, community leaders, educators, and professionals working together to restore and protect our water quality, as well as spotlight deficiencies in governmental regulations that adversely impact our right to clean water. Follow them on Twitter!

North Carolina Black Alliance

North Carolina Black Alliance is working toward state-level systemic change by strengthening the network of elected officials representing communities of color throughout the state and collaborating with a progressive, grassroots networks on intersecting issues. Follow them on Twitter!

Democracy Green

Democracy Green is a movement to connect frontline communities with immediate rapid response, rapid relief, mutual aid and the building of long-term political power in the wake of disasters, focusing on the reformation of our democracy through the four Justices: environmental & climate, land & food, economic and political. Follow them on Facebook!

Toxic Free NC

Toxic Free North Carolina is engaging the community in initiatives that advance environmental health and justice by advocating for safe alternatives to harmful pesticides and chemicals. Their vision is a toxic-free North Carolina that is part of a just and equitable global community where human and environmental health are valued, respected, and enjoyed by all. Follow them on Twitter!

People Power

Since submitting the petition, many different environmental, health and justice groups across the US have joined in to support our petition to the EPA. See what other groups are lending their voices to the fight and sign on if you represent an organization!

The Environmental Protection Network (EPN) also sent EPA a letter in support of our petition. EPN was created in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to provide an informed and rigorous defense against efforts to undermine the protection of public health and the environment.

On November 18th, CEH and our co-petitioners met with EPA to discuss the TSCA testing petition. During the meeting, EPA officials commented that the requested testing was a “big ask” and questioned the need for animal testing. We sent EPA a follow-up letter on Nov. 25th in which we pushed back on these comments.

What’s Next

WIthin 90 days of filing the petition, EPA must either grant or deny the petition. If EPA denies the petition, it must publish the reasons for the denial in the Federal Register. If denied, CEH and its co-petitioners will have 60 days after publication in the Federal Register to file suit.  EPA has indicated that it intends to meet the January 11, 2021 deadline. If the Trump EPA denies our petition, CEH and its co-petitioners will ask the Biden-Harris EPA to reconsider the petition.