Industries get a break on tracking and disclosing dangerous chemicals
The Department of Homeland Security late last week released rules requiring industries to track and disclose large amounts of chemicals potentially alluring to terrorists. Draft regulations released in the spring had been heavily criticized by Big Chemical for their strictness, so the new regulations say, “Try not to put dangerous chemicals out on the sidewalk with a ‘Free for Terrorists’ sign.” OK, it’s not quite that bad, but the rules were lightened up, reducing the number of chemicals to about 300 from 344 and raising the reporting threshold of many. “There are 10 widely recognized ultra-hazardous chemicals. … To a chemical, their thresholds increased,” says Rick Hind of the Greenpeace Toxics Campaign. “When push comes to shove, Homeland Security here folded like a sheet to industry pressure. … It’s clear for whom these laws and loopholes were written.” Some Democratic lawmakers have pledged to strengthen requirements next year.