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EPA Wins Clout to Fight Toxic Chemicals, But It May Take a While

  • Proposal would give agency more power to regulate chemicals
  • Critics say EPA lacks resources, expertise to run program
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Hormone-disrupting chemicals used in your shower curtain or water bottle could face stiffer rules under a measure passed by Congress this week. But it will be years before regulators determine if phthalates and thousands of other chemicals are risky and should face restrictions or bans.

The biggest overhaul of chemical safety laws in four decades should make it easier for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic substances; however, implementing the proposed law will be a herculean task for an agency with scarce resources, former officials and lawyers say. By the time EPA finishes work on the chemicals it has prioritized, the children of today’s children will have been exposed to them -- probably for years.