Virus Outbreak Congress

The Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol are seen in Washington, at sunrise Wednesday, March 18, 2020. 

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has asked the Trump Administration to withdraw its nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission after she received criticism for blocking bans of hazardous chemicals during her time at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nancy Beck is a toxicologist who joined the EPA in 2017 after working for the chemical industry. NPR reports that she delayed or reversed the agency’s plans to ban three chemicals, one of which is a dry cleaning chemical associated with elevated cancer risk. The other two chemicals, methylene chloride and n-methylpyrrolidone, are found in paint strippers, and methylene chloride has caused more than 50 suffocation deaths in recent decades.

“Someone who obstructed protections against a class of toxic chemicals that has potentially adverse health impacts like cancer and liver damage has no business running an agency tasked with protecting consumers in Colorado and across the country,” said Bennet. “One look at Nancy Beck’s record makes it clear that confirming her to lead the CPSC would put the health and safety of the American people at risk. The president should withdraw her nomination immediately.”

The commission is in charge of keeping people safe from death and injury due to consumer products, and most notably publicizes product recalls.

In early June, over 90 scientists signed on to a letter from the pro-environment group Natural Resources Defense Council slamming Beck’s nomination. The signatories found fault in her evaluations of risks, treatment of epidemiologic evidence and failure to speed regulation of toxic PFAS chemicals.

“Beck’s approaches consistently disregarded scientific best practices, favor chemical manufacturers, and put vulnerable populations in harm’s way,” the letter reads.

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