Wagner and Walker propose that the federal government institute proactive regulation of potentially toxic chemicals and shift the responsibility of national chemical safety to chemical manufacturers and from the underfunded EPA and victims who file tort claims for damages. According to the authors, at this time, unanalyzed and ‘forever’ chemicals are freely pumped into the environment, with manufacturers having no responsibility to evaluate the effects of their products. Currently, manufacturers have the power to inhibit current EPA regulation by classifying their chemicals as “trade secrets'' to conceal chemical name and design, sue the EPA when criticized, manipulate internal studies in the absence of conflict-of-interest standards, hire compliant scientists to critique independent studies, and substitute known toxins with unknown—potentially more toxic—chemicals without testing. To amend this, the authors assert that manufacturers must be required to test their chemicals according to an established, mandatory set of guidelines before a product hits the market. Likewise, independent third-party analysts must be employed to assure that these tests are credible.
Wendy Wagner and Will Walker, “Our Chemical Regulatory Program Is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.” Undark, April 30, 2020.