WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released the following statement on the decision by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Delaware Division of Public Health, to host a community meeting for citizens exposed to ethylene oxide (EtO) in New Castle, Delaware.
“It’s about time. For years, I have called on private, state, and federal stakeholders to inform New Castle County residents of the potential risks associated with ethylene oxide exposure. I am relieved to see EPA — under President Biden’s leadership — along with DNREC and the Delaware Division of Public Health, take the long-overdue step of scheduling a public meeting on this critically important topic.”
In August 2020, Senator Carper and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester sent a letter to then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, expressing serious concerns over the EPA’s failure to adequately communicate the health risks of EtO to Delaware residents, despite a report from the Office of the Inspector General (IG) directing the agency to do so. Administrator Wheeler, a President Trump appointee, responded by saying that the agency did not plan to comply with the IG’s recommendation.
Later that year, Carper sent another letter to EPA, urging the agency to do its job and share information on the potential long-term risks of EtO exposure with Delaware citizens. In the time since Carper has supported calls by the EPA IG for the Biden Administration to reconsider the previous administration’s refusal to demonstrate transparency for Americans living near EtO-emitting facilities.