When chemical manufacturers obtain information that a substance in the marketplace poses a substantial risk to human health or the environment, they are required to notify the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA made such notifications publicly available for decades. Then, without explanation, it stopped doing so in 2019, according to a Jan. 4 lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The agency also stopped making the reports available to its own scientists and other federal agencies, the watchdog group alleges.
The group is suing the EPA because the agency did not respond to PEER’s November 2021 request under the Freedom of Information Act. PEER asked the EPA for all substantial risk advisories that industry submitted since 2019, as well as records on who at the EPA decided to stop posting them to a public database and why that decision was made.