Tell The EPA To Protect Children From Dangerous Chemical Facilities

1 in 10 children at nearly 10,000 schools learn and play each school day within one mile of a facility that stores large quantities of hazardous chemicals. These children -- 4.6 million in all 50 states -- are at risk of grave harm in the event of a chemical release due to accident, terrorism, or natural disaster.

The West, Texas, fertilizer plant that exploded in 2013, killing 15 people and destroying three schools, is one example of such chemical hazards. Large quantities of dangerous chemicals are also stored at water treatment plants, oil refineries, pulp and paper manufacturing plants, chemical factories, and other industrial sites. More than 12,000 sites across the country store large enough quantities of hazardous chemicals that they are required to report to the EPA. But despite the ubiquity of the threat, very little has been done to prevent a chemical disaster.

The EPA has invited the public to submit comments on its program to manage dangerous facilities. Safer alternatives to many toxic hazards already exist, but until facilities are required to adopt them, millions of children will be at risk of catastrophic chemical exposure.

Tell EPA that adopting safer alternatives should be mandatory, not voluntary. We need improved regulations that prioritize the safety of our children.
Dear [decision-maker],

I am concerned about the safety of chemical plants in our country and the vulnerability of children in particular to chemical disasters.

1 in 10 children at nearly 10,000 schools learn and play each school day within one mile of a facility that stores large quantities of hazardous chemicals.

Many of these facilities continue to use toxic, explosive chemicals despite the fact that safer alternatives exist. Our children should not have to face the daily threat of potential chemical disasters when safer alternatives are available, affordable, and already adopted by similar facilities.

I urge you to require that facilities storing large quantities of hazardous chemicals adopt inherently safer technologies (IST) whenever feasible. Suggesting that facilities use safer technologies if and when they want to is not sufficient when children's lives are on the line. Requiring IST will help protect the health and safety of millions of students in thousands of schools.

The 1990 Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to prevent a future chemical disaster by requiring chemical facilities to use the safest cost-effective chemical process available. The EPA should activate the Clean Air Act's "Bhopal" provision in sections 112 (r)(1) and 112 (r)(7)(A) to reduce the potential for catastrophic chemical releases.

[Your comments here]

Please implement enforceable disaster prevention requirements on a brisk timeline. It's time to take millions of children out of the shadow of a potential chemical disaster.

[Your name here]
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