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Daily Action: Tell Toxic Trump We Need EPA Protections on Chemicals


CONTACT:
EPA comment page: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190

Sample comment (please do not cut and paste):
"Our region of California contains some of the most verdant growing fields in the nation. Modern technology has helped our farms grow better strawberries, lettuce and many other crops -- but they also have exposed farmworkers to pesticides that make them sick. Considering the high winds we often experience, I'm worried about the effects of pesticides and other chemicals in the air -- not to mention the toxicity from places like the Santa Susana Field Lab. We need the EPA to keep harmful pesticides in check, and to monitor the hazards in our environment."


BACKGROUND
Under orders from President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency -- now led by notorious EPA opponent Scott Pruitt -- has begun a process of scouring its books for regulations it can eliminate. Doing so would threaten four decades of improvements to our air and water, and would exacerbate the threats we face from climate change -- all in the name of improving corporate bottom lines.

As part of its process, the EPA has issued a request for public comment and created the web page linked above. This comment period, which continues through May 15, offers an opportunity to defend the EPA's work from its own current administrators. The most effective comments will not be quick, snarky, or too similar to others (no cutting and pasting, please). They will be those that offer our personal perspectives on the importance of clean air and water, toxic cleanups, etc. -- tied to facts that express gratitude for the EPA's extraordinary successes through the years, and argue for its importance in ensuring a healthy environment in the years to come.

Commenters are not limited to a single submission! Today we encourage you to post as many times as possible on issues surrounding chemicals, pesticides, toxic-waste cleanups, and other such concerns; later this week we'll focus on climate change. The following are points of argument that you might recast in your own words:

  • The work of the EPA is vital to the health and well-being of life on the planet and human beings, and provides a major economic boost to world societies and the US. Its studies, regulations, and mitigation procedures make us a healthier, more productive and economically efficient society. We need the EPA to have more resources, not have them cut by the Trump Administration.
     
  • Since its inception in 1970, the EPA has:
    • cleaned pollution from numerous rivers
    • kept toxins out of drinking water and household products
    • removed CFCs from aerosols
    • saved numerous birds from extinction, including the Bald Eagle, by banning DDT
    • cut brain damage-causing lead from gasoline
    • cleaned up toxic waste sites around the nation
    • improved the quality of the air we breathe.
      Source: http://ehso.com/ehshome/epa-accomplishments.htm

      If we roll back EPA protections, we risk going back to times like these:
  • Cuyahoga River in Ohio catching fire in 1969  
  • Excessive levels of phosphorus in Lake Erie causing massive die-offs, leading to the slogan “Lake Erie is Dead”  
  • Major problems with acid rain; under the Clean Air Act's regulations, since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.
  • The Bald Eagle was threatened with extinction until Rachel Carson’s research led to to the banning of DDT
  • Ozone levels in the atmosphere, heightened due to the proliferation of chlorofluorocarbons, were expected to cause massive increases in skin cancer rates. Thanks to an international effort to phase out CFCs, the ozone hole is now all but closed.

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION CONCERNING PESTICIDES, CHEMICALS, LEAD PAINT, ETC.

Pesticides and Worker Safety. The farmworkers who pick our strawberries are exposed to high levels of pesticides, suffering serious health consequences as a result. The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) works to reduce the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among farm workers.  They need to continue this critical work. Source: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/agricultural-worker-protection-standard-wps

Pesticides. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring documented the dangers of DDT, detailing its impact on bird life. A 2015 study has now shown that women exposed to high levels of DDT in the womb experience a nearly fourfold increase in breast cancer rates. We need the EPA to continue to regulate pesticides, and to protect us from those that have a harmful impact on the environment and human safety. Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/15616-breast-cancer-ddt-pesticide-environment/

Toxic Waste. Until the 1970s, toxic wastes were thrown away like any other garbage.  They were dumped in landfills, or (even worse) left in open pits.  Runoff from these sites then entered the groundwater, and ended up in people’s drinking water. The result of all of this was the creation of Superfund, which has devoted billions of tax dollars to clean up the hazardous sites left behind.  One toxic site in Toms River, NJ, created a cluster of childhood leukemia cases. We need the EPA to regulate the disposal of toxic chemicals so that fewer such cleanups are necessary. It’s much cheaper (both in terms of money and human suffering) to prevent the sites to begin with, than to clean them up later. Source: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/superfund-enforcement-35-years-protecting-communities-and-environment

Radiation. In 2011 a giant tsunami hit Japan, and the Fukushima nuclear reactor experienced a meltdown.  After the incident, the EPA deployed additional monitoring capabilities to make sure that Americans were not being exposed to unsafe levels of radiation as a result of the incident. They checked precipitation, drinking water and even milk. They worked with their counterparts around the world to make sure that the post-meltdown environment was safe. Such critical work needs to continue. Source: https://www.epa.gov/radnet/historical-radiological-event-monitoring

Lead Paint. The EPA estimates that 28 million homes still contain lead paint.  Children who are exposed to lead paint (disproportionately poor children) have a higher risk of brain damage and other neurological disorders.   In 2010  the CDC estimated that half a million American children have enough lead in their bloodstreams to merit a doctor’s attention.  The EPA needs to expand and expedite its work abating lead paint poisoning. Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/04/05/trumps-epa-moves-to-defund-programs-that-protect-children-from-lead/?utm_term=.0af7fa2008ad