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Press Release: EPA Announces It Will Assess Risks of Vinyl Chloride and Four Other Petrochemicals

EPA Announces It Will Assess Risks of Vinyl Chloride and Four Other Petrochemicals

WASHINGTON (December 14, 2023) – The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will begin risk assessments on five petrochemicals, including vinyl chloride, a toxic petrochemical which leaked and was eventually burned in the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. 

Beyond Petrochemicals and partners at Beyond Plastics, Hip Hop Caucus, and Moms Clean Air Force, along with community members from East Palestine, Ohio rallied this summer in front of the EPA’s headquarters calling for a ban on vinyl chloride.

Statement from Heather McTeer Toney, executive director of Beyond Petrochemicals: 

“The day these chemicals are banned in this country can’t come soon enough. This is a welcomed first step in the journey to that day. The dangers of vinyl chloride have been suspected, studied, and most of all, felt by communities for years. 

“You don’t have to see smokestacks from your backyard to be in danger from petrochemicals like vinyl chloride. They are on trains and trucks traveling through all of our communities and if we don’t stop the expansion of the petrochemical industry, more communities will suffer. What happened in East Palestine could happen anywhere at any time.

“Today’s action would not have happened without the families and organizers, especially from East Palestine, Ohio, who tirelessly organized to turn their tragedy into change nationally.”

The full list of petrochemicals being added to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) risk assessment process are: acetaldehyde, acrylonitrile, benzenamine, and 4,4’-Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline) (MBOCA), and vinyl chloride. 

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MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Smelser, matt@beyondpetrochemicals.org, 512.739.9635

About Beyond Petrochemicals

Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in September 2022, Beyond Petrochemicals: People Over Pollution aims to halt the rapid expansion of petrochemical and plastic pollution in the United States. The campaign draws on the success of the Beyond Coal campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon campaign, to turbocharge existing efforts led by frontline communities to block the rapid expansion of 120+ petrochemical projects concentrated in three target geographies – Louisiana, Texas, and the Ohio River Valley. The campaign also works to establish stricter rules for existing petrochemical plants to safeguard the health of American communities. To date, Beyond Petrochemicals has helped raise awareness and lead timely collaboration efforts using its four pillars of community leadership, data and research, legislation and litigation, and stakeholder engagement to accelerate its goals. For more information, please visit us online and follow us on LinkedIn.