Hip Hop Caucus Applauds the EPA’s Decision to Prioritize Vinyl Chloride and Other Toxic Chemicals for Risk Evaluation

WASHINGTON — Today, Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement to prioritize vinyl chloride, the cancer-causing chemical central in plastic production and at the root of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year:

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to begin a review of this dangerous substance is welcomed and long overdue. Frontline communities have been advocating for years against petrochemicals like vinyl chloride and the Caucus was on the ground multiple times earlier this year to raise awareness of the damage done throughout the Ohio River Valley. 

Unlike other petrochemicals, vinyl chloride is almost exclusively used to make polyvinyl chloride, or PVC plastic, despite alternatives existing. Although the legal authority to ban vinyl chloride has existed for nearly 50 years, public opinion had not aligned to make this push until toxic fires burned for days outside of East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year. The Environmental Protection Agency will be opening a public comment period on this rule in the coming days. Hip Hop Caucus will be ready to work with our partners to get public input to ensure this cancer-causing chemical has seen its last days.”