“It is ridiculous,” said Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, who retired last year after nearly four decades at the E.P.A., where she ran the toxic chemical unit during her last year. “You can’t determine if there is an unreasonable risk without doing a comprehensive risk evaluation.”
Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, and Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, who played leading roles in passing the 2016 law, said the E.P.A. was ignoring its directive for a comprehensive analysis of risks.
“Congress worked hard in bipartisan fashion to reform our nation’s broken chemical safety laws, but Pruitt’s E.P.A. is failing to put the new law to use as intended,” Mr. Udall said in a statement referring to Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator.
A spokesman for Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who is chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the agency, declined to comment.
Cumulatively, the approach being taken for the 10 chemicals means the E.P.A.’s risk analysis will not take into account an estimated 68 million pounds a year of emissions, according to an analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund, based on agency data.
Dr. Beck declined requests for comment. She had pushed the E.P.A. during the Obama administration to narrow the scope of the risk evaluations, in a fashion similar to the approach under her watch.
Also helping oversee the risk evaluation effort is Erik Baptist, a former senior lawyer at the American Petroleum Institute, another big player in the chemical industry.