The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission voted to approve a proposal that would impose new criteria on 39 chemicals not currently regulated and change the regulations on 43 other toxics that include carcinogens. The proposal calls for toxic levels to be increased for known carcinogens and decreased for 13 currently regulated chemicals. The proposal was based on science utilized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Environmental groups warn that the changes will allow for dumping of dangerous amounts of chemicals Florida waterbodies. The groups also point out that the new standards are weaker than federal criteria.
The FDEP will send the proposal to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA must approve the rules before they take effect. Several members of Florida’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the head of the EPA asking for a public comment period for them to carefully evaluate each proposed change on human health. FDEP defended the proposal by noting the criteria has been reviewed over ten years. Some critics have expressed concern that the proposal is now being considered prior to the state elections in November.