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Chevron Phillips Imported Toxic Chemicals Into U.S. Without Properly Reporting to EPA, Report Claims

A new report accuses Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (CPChem) of failing to report millions of pounds of cancer-causing chemicals that were imported into the US.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) issued findings of an investigation into CPChem and four other companies on July 26, indicating Chevron admitted to importing 24 chemicals without reporting them to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The violations were disclosed by Chevron’s legal counsel after CEH’s notice of intent to file suit to compel CPChem to meet its regulatory reporting obligations.

The EPA Chemical Data Reporting rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires companies to report the importation of all toxic chemicals into the US. However, the CEH discovered CPChem imported large quantities of toxic chemicals into the US without notifying the EPA between 2012 and 2020.

The chemicals included more than 359 million pounds of benzene and 60 million pounds of p-dichlorobenzene. Both benzene and p-dichlorobenzene are classified as carcinogens by the EPA.

The other 22 chemicals the company failed to report, and the amounts imported, are unknown, and Chevron refused to disclose the information, according to CEH.

The millions of pounds of toxic chemicals imported by CPChem may have exposed workers and communities to potentially harmful chemicals. The magnitude of exposure and resulting cancer risks are unclear, according to the investigation.

CEH also filed lawsuits against three other companies to compel them to report their chemical imports and announced a settlement with a fourth company.

The four companies together imported 65 chemicals which were subject to reporting under the Chemical Data Reporting rule, but were not reported. The chemicals include several recognized carcinogens including benzene, butadiene, trichloroethylene, isoprene, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, di-isononyl phthalate, carbon black and arsenic.

“Chemical companies owned by multi-billion dollar oil companies can’t be allowed to bring millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into our communities and hide it,” said Michael Green, CEO of CEH.

Under the chemical reporting rule, companies are required to report chemical imports to the EPA. The agency can then make the data about the chemicals public so communities and local governments can assess the potential risks to human health and contamination to our air, soil and water. Chevron is a major US chemical producer and petrochemical company.

“When we first disclosed CPChem’s failure to report massive benzene and p-dichlorobenzene imports, we were concerned that it was only the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert Sussman, CEH Counsel and a former EPA senior official. “Now, by the company’s own admission, we know that there were numerous other reporting violations and a serious breakdown in the company’s compliance systems, none of which would have come to light but for CEH’s review of import records.”

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