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Toxics

EPA RISK EXPERT UNVEILS DATA-DRIVEN REFORMS TO REDUCE UNCERTAINTY

A leading EPA risk policy official says the agency will implement a data-driven approach to minimizing scientific uncertainties about the effect of environmental contaminants, a move that responds to long-standing industry criticism that the agency's regulatory policies are often based on overestimated risk findings.

But industry officials are offering cautious support for the policy change, saying the real test will be in EPA's use of new data in upcoming risk reviews.

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OMB REPORTEDLY SEEKS ALTERNATIVE RISK ESTIMATES IN EPA CANCER GUIDE

White House regulatory officials are reportedly seeking to include language in EPA's long-awaited revisions to its cancer risk assessment guidelines that would require the agency to present chemical safety estimates to protect a smaller percentage of the general population alongside its more conventional estimates.

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EPA STAFF SAY OMB PEER REVIEW MAY DELAY CHILDREN'S CANCER GUIDE

EPA officials fear that a peer review of the agency's cancer risk guidelines for children, which is being quietly conducted at the White House's request, may weaken or rescind proposed protections against cancer-causing chemical exposures.

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ARMY CORPS CLAIMS EXEMPTION FROM REMEDIATING BANNED PESTICIDE

The Army Corps of Engineers says it is legally exempt from having to remediate a highly toxic pesticide called chlordane -- banned since 1988 -- that is present at dozens of contaminated military sites around the country.

But an EPA official is disputing the Corps' arguments -- detailed in a guidance released last year -- saying the military is misconstruing federal cleanup laws.

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RULING FORCES USDA TO DISCLOSE LOCATION OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

A federal district court recently required the Agriculture Department (USDA) for the first time to disclose the location of genetically modified crops to ensure the environmental integrity of nearby plants, attorneys following the issue say.

The ruling affirms environmentalists' long-standing contention that producers of crops that are genetically modified to produce drugs, cosmetics or other substances are not protected by "confidential business information" provisions of the Plant Protection Act.

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OSWER LOSES BID TO INCLUDE PROGRAM MEASURES IN EPA INDICATORS REPORT

EPA waste officials have reportedly failed in a bid to include measures for evaluating progress at contaminated sites in a high-profile agency report on environmental trends, jeopardizing the office's role in agency strategic planning and budget allocations.

EPA's waste office has been in a dispute with agency research officials over what indicators of environmental conditions are defensible enough to include in an upcoming version of the agency's Report on the Environment, (ROE) a summary of information on environmental trends.

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EPA STAFF SAY OMB PEER REVIEW MAY DELAY CHILDREN'S CANCER GUIDE

EPA officials fear that a peer review of the agency's cancer risk guidelines for children being quietly conducted at the White House's request may weaken or rescind proposed protections against cancer-causing chemical exposures.

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State Lawmakers Launch Push To Ban Widely Used Flame Retardant

Lawmakers in several states across the country are drafting legislation that would ban the sale and use of a widely used flame retardant, deca-BDE, an effort that goes beyond recent EPA regulations to control similar chemicals. The legislation, which is expected to prompt similar proposals in other states, has attracted opposition from industry officials who say the restrictions would hamper emerging efforts to recycling discarded electronics and other consumer goods that contain the fire retardants.

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Victims Group Cites W.R. Grace Indictment In Push To Alter Asbestos Bill

A group representing asbestos exposure victims is citing recent indictments of W.R. Grace & Company and several of its executives in opposing draft Senate legislation for a compensation trust fund, arguing that the bill would ease the company's liability for the pollutant. The indictments are a result of EPA enforcement actions against the company for allegedly obstructing federal environmental cleanup efforts at a Montana mine.

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OMB REPORTEDLY SEEKS ALTERNATIVE RISK ESTIMATES IN EPA CANCER GUIDE

White House regulatory officials are reportedly seeking to include language in EPA's long-awaited revisions to its cancer risk assessment guidelines that would require the agency to present chemical safety estimates to protect a smaller percentage of the general population alongside its more conventional estimates.

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