EPA asked to investigate improper inspection allegations

CHICAGO (AP) — Three Democratic U.S. senators are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate allegations it isn’t properly inspecting facilities that emit the cancer-causing gas ethylene oxide.

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware on Friday asked the EPA’s inspector general to launch an independent investigation. The senators say EPA senior political appointees have instructed workers to avoid inspecting facilities that emit the gas.

EPA spokesman John Konkus said no order has been issued to stop inspections at ethylene oxide-emitting facilities. He says EPA staff have been “actively examining” emissions and pollution controls for those facilities.

The senators’ request comes after the EPA last year said the Chicago suburbs of Waukegan and Willowbrook are among communities at risk of toxic air pollution caused by ethylene oxide.

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