“Managers at EPA began instituting the policy in early 2020, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which wrote to the agency asking for its revocation. The ban affects the New Chemicals Division in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which conducts reviews of new materials before they are cleared for use in commercial products as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The office is understaffed and lacking expertise, PEER said, increasing the need for scientists to be able to lean on each other and review their colleagues’ work. Where knowledge gaps or inexperience exist, consultation with others in the office can ensure sound assessments before new chemicals are approved. Tim Whitehouse, PEER’s executive director, said his organization represents EPA employees who have been reprimanded for ‘reaching out to other employees for feedback on their work.'”