Typically, one of the jobs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to review new chemicals before they hit the market. If they’re found to be unsafe, the EPA looks for ways to lower their risks or bans them altogether. Recently, Chevron, a major fossil fuel-based company, has started creating plastic-based fuels, something which they call more “climate-friendly” than their petroleum-based fuels. In this case, the EPA approved the plastic-based fuels, even though their scientists found alarming issues.
According to the EPA, one in four people exposed to Chevron’s jet fuel would get cancer. Worse, for their boat fuel, every person exposed would develop cancer.
The list of side effects doesn’t stop there. Even if you never come in contact with the fuels, just eating fish from contaminated water increases your cancer risk to a rate of seven out of a hundred people compared to five out of a hundred people. Why are these fuels so deadly? The plastic Chevron is burning contains flame retardants, heavy metals, dioxins, and PFAS (forever chemicals), all of which have been proven to cause severe side effects. The question then becomes, why did the EPA approve these chemicals? Was it a simple oversight, or is there something deeper?
Many US agencies pride themselves on their neutrality and focus on science, but over the past couple of decades, major companies have gained more and more control over our government. Lobbyists are undermining standards created to save lives and allowing for more pollution and the destruction of the environment, like in the case of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association weakening clean air standards a few months ago. In a time like this, it feels pertinent to ask if Chevron influenced the EPA’s decision to put the public’s safety at risk.