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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responds to criticism of its chemical review process with a webpage

The USEPA said it will update its new webpage once a month to better track the progress of its review of chemicals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making its chemical review process more transparent. That’s in response to industry complaints that the agency takes too long to approve chemicals and environmental groups who complain the agency’s culture is too cozy with industry.

The EPA used to only do full risk assessments on about 20% of new chemicals submitted to the agency. In 2016, Congress changed the Toxic Substances Control Act, requiring the agency to make thorough reviews of all chemicals. But the EPA says Congress did not appropriate more money to do that.

The agency has been criticized for how slow it’s been in assessing the risk of new chemicals. EPA officials say it is making progress "...despite ongoing resource challenges."

It says a new webpage will better reveal what chemicals are being reviewed and the progress in assessing them.

"EPA is committed to building a culture of transparency," said Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention in a news release.

"The newly enhanced webpage give users an extensive look at the new chemical review process and provides a clear snapshot of the progress made by the program's dedicated career staff to ensure public health and environmental protections," he added.

The agency says that webpage will be updated monthly.

Whether a monthly update will be of value to industry groups or environmental groups is unclear.