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Toxic law? Chemical pollution and the EPA

Some of the Republican contenders for president have taken on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  as a favored target,  claiming its regulations are hurting businesses and the economy.

Earlier this month, while campaigning to a Tea Party group in Florida, Governor Perry spoke passionately against the agency. “You’re doing nothing more than killing jobs. It’s a cemetery for jobs at the EPA,” he said.

But is it possible that the EPA, an agency created by President Nixon 40 years ago to protect the environment and our health, isn’t doing enough, particularly when it comes to protecting us from toxic chemicals?


Need to Know’s Dr. Emily Senay wanted to learn more. She traveled to the industrial village of Endicott in upstate New York, where a dangerous chemical has contaminated the groundwater for decades. Just this week, the EPA declared it a human cancer-causing agent.  But some say the science pointing to its risks has been clear for years, and the reason the chemical remains in widespread production and use is that the EPA  has been hamstrung by a decades-old law that is too weak.

Our story is part of Need to Know’s Watch List series, dedicated to reporting on the regulators and agencies charged with keeping us safe.

Related:
Poll: The role of the EPA
Is the EPA regulating too much?

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

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