Jennifer Sass at NRDC’s Switchboard blog takes a look at the good things that the Obama administration EPA, headed by Administrator Lisa Jackson, is doing on toxic substances. Three of the ones she pointed out particularly caught my eye; she writes:
Nanosilver and nano-scale pesticides: Next week EPA will ask its Scientific Advisory Panel to review the data relevant to conducting a safety assessment of nanosilver and other nano-sized metals used as antimicrobials and pesticides. These hazardous nano-sized metals, including both nanosilver and nano-copper, are used in hundreds of commercial products without having undergone any safety testing or registration on the nano-sized material. NRDC will provide these comments to the expert panel at its review next week.
IRIS review process for hazardous chemical assessments: Overturning a highly-criticized Bush-era policy that formalized White House interference, Administrator Jackson announced a new process for assessing toxic chemicals under the Office of Research and Development IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System) program, in addition to $5 million and 10 new employees for the IRIS program. The new process increases public transparency and reduces political interference.
TRI reporting of hazardous releases: EPA reversed a 2006 rulemaking that reduced the number of industrial facilities required to provide detailed reports of their emissions under the Toxic Release Inventory. NRDC and many others had objected to this rule. This rule was overturned in the omnibus signed by President Obama.
As Jennifer notes — and as Rena Steinzor and Matt Shudtz pointed out last week — the effectiveness of both IRIS and TRI may be limited by the Office of Management and Budget. Nonetheless, the EPA is moving in a promising direction. Go read the whole post for more good news.