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Toxic Substances and Safety

Complete 9
In Progress 1


Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental disabilities in children. In 2020, the E.P.A. also rejected its own earlier finding that the pesticide can cause serious health problems, though it later recommended some label changes and usage restrictions. (Several states have banned use of the pesticide and its main manufacturer said it would stop producing the product because of shrinking demand.)
Declined to require that certain industries — including electric power, petroleum, coal products manufacturing and chemical manufacturing — have enough funds to cover major spills and accidents. (The Obama administration was planning to develop such requirements.)
Declined to issue a proposed rule that required the hardrock mining industry to prove it could pay to clean up future pollution.
Narrowed the scope of a 2016 law mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals like dry-cleaning solvents. The updated rules allowed the E.P.A. to exclude some chemical uses and types of exposure in the review process. In November 2019, a court of appeals ruled the agency must widen its scope to consider full exposure risks, but watchdog groups say it did not do so in some assessments.
Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol.
Changed safety rules to allow for rail transport of highly flammable liquefied natural gas.
Rolled back most of the requirements of a 2017 rule aimed at improving safety at sites that use hazardous chemicals that was instituted after a chemical plant exploded in Texas.
Narrowed pesticide application buffer zones that are intended to protect farmworkers and bystanders from accidental exposure.
Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct comprised of heavy metals, from the “hazardous waste” list.


Announced a review of an Obama-era rule lowering coal dust limits in mines. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said there were no immediate plans to change the dust limit but extended a public comment period until 2022.
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