Petitioning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Stop Trump’s Pick on Chemical Safety - An Asbestos Survivor’s Plea

As a cancer survivor, I’m furious that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Trump is undermining rules to protect our children and families from deadly chemicals in our homes, air, food and water.

Now the administration has gone too far. Recently Trump appointed Nancy Beck, a chemical industry executive as the new deputy assistant administrator of the EPA. Please join me in fighting against this industry takeover of the EPA.

In her new role, Beck is expected to focus on implementation of the new chemical safety law, including reviewing the use of asbestos. Trump has called asbestos “100% safe” and criticized rules to regulate this deadly poison.

I know too well how devastating asbestos exposure can be. Eleven years ago, as a new mom I was shocked when my doctors told me I had mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos. As a child, I often wore my construction worker Father’s work coat, an over-sized jacket that was always covered in what I now know was a deadly dust. I was stunned when the doctors told me that there was a 90% chance that I would die before my daughter’s fifth birthday.

But after an operation to remove a lung, a year and a half of chemotherapy and radiation, and ongoing health issues that will remain with me for the rest of my life, I’m one of the lucky ones. The doctors say that about 2% of people live more than 10 years beyond a mesothelioma diagnosis like mine.

Over the past decade, I have fought for stronger rules to protect children and families from asbestos and other harmful chemicals. My hopes were raised last December, when the EPA designated asbestos as a top 10 chemical for review and regulation under the new chemical safety law that Congress had just adopted.

But the chemical industry won’t easily give up their sales of this deadly product, and they now have allies like Nancy Beck at EPA, whose most recent job was as a lobbyist for the chemical companies, including asbestos makers.

Even more disturbing, in Beck’s prior government job, a Congressional science oversight committee accused her and other Bush Administration staff of “rewriting the ‘science’” on policy issues, including health protections from chemicals. They found that Beck had changed a scientific assessment on a toxic flame retardant chemical in a way that intentionally underplayed the health risks from exposure to the chemical, including one edit that they said was “very disturbing” in how it manipulated the science and downplayed the health concerns.

Nancy Beck has a proven track record of undermining science and demonstrated conflicts of interest that disqualify her for any position involving the development of rules intended to protect us from asbestos and other dangerous chemicals.

As someone who lives every day with the effects of a chemical exposure, and who works with families of hundreds of others who have not been so lucky, I know the tragic consequences that will result if we do not strongly oppose this appointment and all of this Administration’s attacks on our health and our right to healthy environments. I urge you to sign and share my petition calling for an ethics review of Nancy Beck’s appointment to the EPA.

 

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  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

    Heather Von St. James started this petition with a single signature, and now has 3,473 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.




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