Ever hear of Nancy Beck? Chances are you haven’t, but you should.
Congress is expected to soon determine whether to approve the nomination of Nancy Beck to head the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC is a small agency with a big job: protecting the public against dangers associated with consumer products including toys, children’s products, home furnishings, and countless other items we use in our daily lives. Beck is up for a 7-year term and she’s a remarkably bad choice.
Beck is currently detailed to the White House; and was recently tied to its efforts to suppress Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on how to reopen businesses and society safely during the pandemic.
For the past three years, Beck has served as the administration’s “Toxics Czar,” overseeing policies at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At every turn, Beck has opted not to protect the public from exposure to dangerous chemicals, or to make the public aware of how dangerous they are.
Beck blocked a proposed ban on the use of the dangerous solvent methylene chloride in paint strippers known to pose a lethal risk to workers and consumers. Beck not only blocked proposed bans on some workplace and consumer uses of trichloroethylene (TCE) a cancer-causing solvent that has also been associated with causing cardiac defects from in utero exposures but she pressured EPA scientists not to focus on cardiac effects when they evaluated the potential harms of the chemical.
She re-wrote EPA’s policies for evaluating toxic chemicals – directing agency staff to ignore potential exposure from drinking water, air pollution and contaminated soil. Another Beck policy would have ignored potential exposure to asbestos in homes, buildings and schools across the country when evaluating how much of a danger it posed to public health (a federal appeals court rejected that approach). Beck has also blocked EPA from prohibiting the use of the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos, which several states have since banned for use. She blocked the ban of a related pesticide commonly used in pet collars and other products, endangering children (a federal court recently ordered the agency to act on a petition).
Beck has failed to address the growing crisis of toxic PFAS chemicals which have contaminated drinking water systems. Beck pursued no testing, no reporting of air emissions or water discharges, no disclosure of where the chemicals are being produced or how many people are being exposed. Eventually, Congress stepped in – requiring EPA to take action.
Beck’s “scientific” work has repeatedly been criticized by experts. A peer review panel appointed by the Trump administration found that chemical evaluations produced under Beck’s oversight “strayed from basic risk assessment principles,” resulting in draft evaluations that were “unscientific,” “misleading,” riddled with “mistakes and inconsistencies,” and “generally lacking in [their] ability to present a coherent picture of” worker risks.
Now that you have heard or learned more about Nancy Beck, please encourage U.S. Senators Sinema and McSally to speak out and vote against Nancy Beck’s nomination.