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Petitioning Environmental Protection Agency

Ban Asbestos in the US Now, Without Loopholes or Exemptions

My daughter was just 10 years-old when my husband, Alan, was diagnosed with a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a deadly material which is still being used in the U.S. today. Families like mine have fought for decades to get the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of asbestos, but instead the administration allows imports and use to continue. Alan’s disease was incurable – but it was also entirely preventable. Asbestos kills an estimated 39,000 people in the US every year, yet the EPA has not banned companies from continuing to use it. They are knowingly poisoning Americans. In 2004, Doug Larkin and I co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization to fight for families battling mesothelioma. We vowed that we would fight with all of our strength to prevent other families from going through the pain, devastation, and loss that we experienced. Emily and I were there with Alan when he took his last breaths. I lost my soulmate and my daughter lost her father because our government refused to stand up to greedy corporations.   The EPA has now spent decades of time and taxpayer dollars on asbestos research. They know it is deadly, yet hundreds of tons of raw asbestos are allowed every year to be used in our country. It’s long past time that the EPA banned this deadly material once and for all. Enough is enough.

Linda Reinstein and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
136,908 supporters
Petitioning Environmental Protection Agency

Tell the EPA: Ban paraquat, an herbicide linked to Parkinson’s disease.

Despite being banned in 32 countries, paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. Yet many studies, including one as recent as 2017, show that paraquat exposure increases risk of Parkinson’s disease. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should join other countries in banning the use of this herbicide.   Parkinson’s is a chronic, degenerative neurological disease that impacts nearly 1 million Americans. Currently, there is no treatment to slow, stop or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s, nor is there a cure. Every 15 years, the EPA reviews all herbicides to confirm they comply with federal safety standards, and paraquat is currently under review. That’s why your signature is so important today. The Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council, led by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, educates lawmakers on the causes of Parkinson’s and advocates for public policy changes that support patients and families. Last year, the Council sent a letter to the EPA outlining paraquat’s health risks and asking for it to be banned in the United States. Introduced in the 1960s, paraquat kills most green plant tissue on contact and is often used as an alternative for weeds resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide commonly known as “Roundup.” There are other means of pest-control that farmers can use to obtain an adequate yield without increasing Parkinson’s risk. Please sign our petition asking the EPA Administrator to protect Americans and prohibit the use of paraquat.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
112,555 supporters
Petitioning President Trump

Ban Toxic Chinese Drywall, Provide Medical Monitoring, Injunctive Equitable Relief, Public Awareness

After Hurricane Katrina, our Family moved from Louisiana to Florida. We bought a new house and were thrilled to be getting a fresh start. However, our happiness was short-lived. Soon, the entire family’s health, and our house’s appliances, air conditioning unit, and wiring all began failing. It was a bizarre nightmare. What we learned later was that our walls were literally made from poison. After talking to neighbors who were experiencing the same issues, we brought in a forensic toxic specialist. Our drywall had been shipped in from China and was made with toxins that should never have been allowed in a building product. But by then, it was too late. Our builder had gone out of business, our insurance had a pollution exclusion, and our mortgage company said we were responsible. I filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner and after investigating they dismissed my complaint stating in fine print there was a pollution exclusion, I knew they weren't referencing these gasses emitting from Chinese Drywall. I need your help to make sure no family has to endure what we are facing. Join me in demanding that all Chinese drywall be banned from  the United States until it has been guaranteed to be safe and toxin-free. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Chinese drywall flooded the US market. According to shipping information Knauf Tianjin sent at least 38.7 million pounds of Chinese Drywall, Knauf Wuhu sent 28.6 million pounds. Based on U.S. customs and census information these figures indicate 78% from these two China plants in 2006. Those numbers have continued to increase affecting more innocent homeowners. It was used in countless homes, and thousands of families are currently involved in lawsuits over it. They have experienced the same horrible health effects as us, such as eye and upper respiratory infections, chronic nose bleeds, vomiting blood,scalp sores, migraines and chronic fatigue, and have also seen it destroy everything they worked hard to build. The problem is so bad that Congress passed a bill to learn more about the dangers of Chinese drywall used in homes like mine. We ended up having to walk away from our home, losing over $100,000 in equity. After we did, it was bulldozed to the ground. When we moved into a new place, we learned that it, too, had Chinese drywall. This toxic product is everywhere. There is reports of eleven infants at Fort Bragg that have mysteriously died  and the homes contained Chinese Drywall. This design defect by China allowed high levels of sulfide gasses: carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, dimethyl sulfide and other chemicals to emit through off-gassing into our homes. If it can corrode wiring turn our metals, silverware, jewelry black,  what is the long term health effects we face? We have photos of congress entering our homes wearing masks, however their saying theirs no danger when you leave. They refuse to study the health effects that families have suffered and continue to suffer daily. My family has never received justice. We still suffer from ill health, our credit has been destroyed, and we have to scrape every penny just to get by day-to-day. We are no longer home owners, we rent. Recently, I learned I have thyroid cancer, and I know in my heart that it is from the Chinese drywall. A home is supposed to protect you, not kill you. It is time to ban Chinese drywall until we have answers and guarantees that it is safe.

Crystal K
90,125 supporters
Petitioning Juan Thomas, thomas.juan@epamail.epa.gov , stepp.cathy@epa.gov , fusinski.keith@epa.gov , johnson.mark@epa.gov , mkj5@cdc.gov , tjohnson@idem.IN.gov , awilloug@idem.IN.gov , hamblin.patrick@epa.gov...

Childhood cancer crisis & a toxic legacy: Tell EPA-sample for vapor intrusion into homes

"Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at age 13 and with only 3 months and 13 days left of her tragically short life, Emma Grace Findley captured the hearts of not only her community but inspired many around the US and world. Today, we fight in her memory and are inspired by her spirit to answer why so many children in our community face this battle." - Kari Rhinehart, community leader who lost her daughter in 2014. For nearly a decade, the vibrant community of Johnson County, IN has been fighting dual battles: their rising childhood cancer rates and the frustration of their own health and environmental agencies minimizing public concern.  Upon independent investigation into several local toxic legacy sites, it has become clear that there are significant unresolved issues and data gaps. Families in Johnson County and beyond may continue to be unknowingly exposed to hazardous chemicals if these are not addressed. Sign our petition urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to conduct vapor intrusion sampling of the homes in Johnson County and to reevaluate a leaking former industrial site for inclusion on the National Priorities List. RISING CHILDHOOD CANCER RATES "To see the look on his face when we get a phone call of a new diagnosis is heartbreaking. I know what is going through his mind. 'Another one? Relapse? Will I relapse?' Those thoughts are something no child should ever have to wonder." - Stacie Davidson, community leader and stepmother of Zane Davidson, who is in remission after 3 1/2 years of being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) data shows that the age-adjusted cancer incidence rate for children under 20 in Johnson County (22.2) is higher than the state average (17.3); even more alarming is the rates in Johnson County are rising. According to the community and local news outlets, approximately half of the children diagnosed since 2009 have lived or spent significant time in Johnson County's small town of Franklin. An investigation released by the Johnson County Health Department in December 2017 concluded that, "The difference between the observed number of childhood cancers diagnosed in Johnson County and the number expected was not statistically significant." Any objective observer can see that what is significant is elementary school children developing cancers typically seen in 60-year old adults. What is significant is that childhood cancer rates continue to rise. What is significant is the storied history of poor housekeeping practices at Johnson County sites that contaminated the surrounding environment. One critical piece that has been left out of the human health conversation has been a comprehensive investigation into child-specific exposure factors from several contaminated sites in Johnson County. Without additional sampling efforts to address fundamental data gaps, the sites and off-site areas remain incompletely characterized and the human health risk analyses reliant on assumptions. A TOXIC LEGACY The nonprofit advocacy group, Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) has investigated over 25,000 pages of confidential government reports, memos, and test results for contaminated sites in Johnson County, many of which had previously never been reviewed by the community. The EWA and its team of technical advisors have found that human and environmental impacts have not been adequately characterized at one site in particular, the former Amphenol Corporation. The former Amphenol Corporation (aka Franklin Power Products) site operated under several other owners and operators during its 55-year history in Franklin, IN. From 1963 to 1983, electrical parts were manufactured on the approximately 15 acre site, with metal hydroxide sludge, volatile organic compound (VOC) solvents and thinners (including trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane), and cyanide solutions reported as some of the wastes generated, stored in tanks, and leaked directly into the ground. Some of the many poor housekeeping practices at this site included a leaking plating room floor that discharged chemicals into the subsurface, and a damaged sewer line that also drained wastewater contaminants into the surrounding environment. In a 1985 Site Assessment report, high levels of up to 19,000 parts-per-billion of TCE and 13,000 parts-per-billion of 1,1,1-trichloroethane were reportedly detected in onsite groundwater, along with a witches' brew of other hazardous chemicals. Cleanup activities, which included installation of a groundwater treatment and recovery system, under the RCRA Corrective Action program were said to be complete in December 1998. In January 2007, the Indiana American Water Company (INAWC) stopped using two drinking water wells in Franklin's Webb Wellfield due to detection of 1,2-dichloroethylene (1,2-DCE) contamination exceeding Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). A third well was abandoned in 2012, and TCE above MCLs was also detected near the drinking water wells. According to the water company and its attorneys, a toxic plume containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) had migrated from the Amphenol site to its wellfield which served approximately 50,000 people. Amphenol Corporation argued that the VOC contamination found in the wellfield had no link to its site. VOCs easily become vapors/gases, and many are toxic to multiple body systems. TCE, for example is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure. Children are especially vulnerable due to "critical windows of development" (World Health Organization) that are not present in adults. Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and other standards set by agencies often do not take into account highly sensitive populations, like children, or the synergistic effects of exposure to multiple chemicals. It is generally agreed in the academic community that there is no safe dose of a carcinogen, as "even small doses may have a relevant biological effect" (National Academies of Science, Advancing Risk Assessment). DATA GAPS THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED According to EWA research, the Amphenol site was evaluated for inclusion on the USEPA's National Priorities List (NPL) nearly 30 years ago in the late 1980s, when preliminary scoring worksheets were completed using the Hazardous Ranking System (HRS).  The total projected score for the site (with observed release to groundwater) was calculated as 44.60, well over the threshold of 28.50 that qualifies sites for inclusion on the NPL. In 2017, vapor intrusion - a fancy way of describing toxic gases leaking into homes, schools, and other buildings - was added to the HRS criteria. Although vapor intrusion may be one pathway of children's unacceptable exposures to contaminants in Johnson County, the site has not been reevaluated using the new criteria.  Vapor intrusion was first identified as a potential issue for the Amphenol site as early as December 1995, even though nearly a year before an onsite recovery system (ORS) began operating to pump and treat contaminated groundwater. A memo written by a federal USEPA hydrogeologist warned, "Contaminants may volatilize from a NAPL [non-aqueous phase liquid] source in the vadose zone or from contaminated groundwater. It is not clear whether transport of such contamination and risks to nearby residential areas were considered in the previous documents." A draft report was submitted to the EPA the following year, which "theoretically" determined that there was "little" indoor air risk to adjacent homes from groundwater seeps, as the hypothetical risk fell within the 10^-4 to 10^-6 range - meaning that it would be acceptable if 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 people got cancer as a result of exposure to contaminants. It was noted in the document that the model used was "limited" and that the "conclusions have not been validated with field data."  Not only has the vapor intrusion risk not been comprehensively evaluated since this time, but there is no indication that the residential homes ever had actual indoor air quality monitoring performed. The most recent round of groundwater data provided to EWA shows that even in 2016, the highest concentrations of volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) were detected in monitoring wells near the residential areas adjacent to the site. This raises even more concerns as to the possibility for harmful chemicals to seep into indoor spaces or to impact private drinking water wells in the region. In accordance with EPA's Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook, the Amphenol site and off-site areas, including residential homes, should also be evaluated for children's and other sensitive populations' differing vulnerabilities and exposure pathways before it can be determined that human exposures are under control.  As more children in the community continue to get diagnosed and families increasingly feel unsafe in their homes, it is long overdue that the agencies prioritize meaningful community involvement in investigating this site and others - and this includes sampling the 'human environment' where children live, sleep, and play.  OUR VISION AND HOW YOU CAN HELP The Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) is organizing and funding the first round of sampling the homes in Johnson County to determine a) if toxic vapors are migrating from the subsurface into the homes, and b) if concentrations of select contaminants detected in the indoor air are above human health criteria. The EWA strongly requests the US Environmental Protection Agency to join the EWA in taking split-samples to most efficiently fill data gaps and adequately delineate the extent of contaminant movement into the residential areas. It is by design that EPA's mission includes protecting both human health and the environment. Furthermore, Presidential Executive Order 13045, "Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks" directs federal agencies to "make it a high priority to identify and assess environmental health risks and safety risks that may disproportionately affect children." We are calling on the USEPA to fulfill this mission and Executive Order 13045 by conducting sampling with the EWA, reevaluating the Amphenol site using the new vapor intrusion criteria, and addressing public concerns at our first meeting with the Johnson County community in June 2018. No child should have to develop cancer or lose their life because they grew up in the wrong zip code. Take action and sign our petition now - the families of Johnson County and anyone who believes children have the right to grow up in a safe and healthy environment are counting on you! For more information, visit: www.edisonwetlands.org/johnson-county-in  

Edison Wetlands Association
37,996 supporters
Petitioning Environmental Protection Agency

ACCIÓN COMUNAL: RESCATEMOS LA PLAYA FLAMENCO, Culebra, Puerto Rico

 ••• Scroll down for English •••   Nos unimos para defender las aguas pristinas costaneras de la famosa Playa Flamenco, joya del archipiélago Caribeño de Culebra, Puerto Rico.   Los fracasos de las agencias gubernamentales al no obligar el cumplimiento con la política pública y las leyes ambientales ha resultado en un daño irreparable a la integridad ecológica de la Bahía Flamenco, Designada como; Hábitat Crítico para Arrecifes de Coral y Tortugas Marinas en Peligro de Extinción.   Un delincuente ambiental crónico, ha continuado la construcción ilegal y sin permisos por más de diez años. Sigue rellenando humedales protegidos y escarbando carreteras, causando erosión e impactos significantes de sedimentación en el área conocida como el Muellecito.   Últimamente, como resultado de dos huracanes catastróficos, nuestros ciudadanos y las agencias públicas están enfocadas en esfuerzos de recuperación, mientras se usa el desastre natural para encubrir deforestación acelerada.   Ésto le ha causado un impacto mortal al sistema ecológico que tanto ha sufrido recientemente.  A su vez, éste impacto sigue alterando para siempre la belleza extraordinaria del paisaje natural y las aguas cristalinas de nuestra querida Playa Flamenco.   Éste ‘proyectista’, quien busca identificarse como ambientalista, sigue abusando de nuestros tribunales y continúa su hábito de intimidación hacia agencias de gobierno y ciudadanos locales.  Consigue privatizar lo que se honra como dominio público y bloquea el acceso tradicional hacia áreas históricas, logrando la destrucción del patrimonio natural y cultural.     Éste patrimonio otorgado en herencia, está protegido por leyes federales, estatales y municipales.    Especificamente, Ley 66 del 1975, (política pública de Puerto Rico) que tiene como propósito principal el preservar y conservar la integridad ecológica de Culebra.    Por lo tanto, reclamamos la ejecución de leyes existentes y política pública para asegurar la protección y conservación de la Bahía de Flamenco para la prosperidad y bienestar de futuras generaciones.   Nosotros, los suscritos, EXIGIMOS que nuestras agencias tomen acción y obliguen el cumplimiento con:   El CESE y DESISTA INMEDIATO a todo trabajo en el área de Flamenco.   La ELIMINACIÓN de estructuras ilegales y RESTAURACIÓN de todas las áreas afectadas en Flamenco.   Imponer MULTAS y PENALIDADES proporcional a un delincuente habitual por cada movimiento de terreno, carretera y estructura ilegal en el área de Flamenco.   Re-establecer el ACCESO LIBRE en lugares de dominio público.  Eliminación de portones, verjas y escombros bloqueando el ACCESO público tradicional al Muellecito, Playa Resaca, el Bosque de Piedras y el Puesto de Observación (OP), según resolución ACDEC 01-076-A del 17 de enero 2007  (acceso de emergencia).   Asegurar la TRANSPARENCIA en todas las acciones posteriores. Ésto se llevará a cabo a través de notificaciones a la comunidad en general, por medio de anuncios o boletines impresos, redes sociales y reuniones públicas.              ____________________                                        ••• ENGLISH •••     COMMUNITY ACTION:     RESCUE FLAMENCO BEACH   We are uniting to defend the pristine coastal waters of world renowned Flamenco beach, the jewel of the Caribbean archipelago of Culebra, Puerto Rico…   Failures of government agencies to enforce public policy and environmental laws has resulted in irreparable harm to the ecological integrity of Flamenco Bay, listed as Critical Habitat for endangered sea turtles and coral reefs.   For over a decade, a chronic environmental offender has continued illegal construction without permits, filling protected wetlands and carving roads, causing erosion and significant sedimentation impacts to the area known as “El Muellecito.”   Now in the aftermath of two catastrophic hurricanes public agencies and citizens are focused on recovery efforts, meanwhile the natural disaster is being used as a cover for accelerated deforestation and unsustainable development.  This has dealt a mortal blow to the recently battered ecosystem, forever altering the extraordinary beauty, natural landscape and crystalline waters of our beloved Flamenco Beach.   Through the abuse of our legal system, this developer who falsely presents himself as an environmentalist, has consistently intimidated government agencies and local citizens, privatizing what we honor as public domain and blocking traditional access to historical areas, effectively destroying cultural and natural patrimony.   All of this is protected by federal, state and municipal laws.   Specifically, Law 66 of 1975, (public policy of Puerto Rico) whose primary purpose is to preserve and conserve the ecological integrity of Culebra’s delicate ecosystem.     Therefore, we seek the enforcement of existing laws and public policy, to ensure the protection and conservation of Flamenco Bay for the prosperity and well-being of future generations.    We (the undersigned) DEMAND agencies take action and enforce: IMMEDIATE CEASE and DESIST of all work in the area of Flamenco. REMOVAL of illegal structures & RESTORATION of ALL affected areas of Flamenco.   FINES and PENALTIES proportionate to a repeat offender for each illegal movement of earth, road and structure in the area of Flamenco. OPEN ACCESS to Public Domain areas. Extraction of fences, gates and debris blocking traditional public ACCESS to El Muellecito (the shark pen), Resaca beach, the boulder forest and the observation post (OP), in accordance with ACDEC resolution 01-076-A, January 17, 2007. (Emergency access) TRANSPARENCY on all further actions.  This is to occur through written notifications to the community using advertisements, bulletins, social media, and public meetings.              ____________________    

CULEBRA 66
36,782 supporters