On March 28, 2017, the University of Michigan hosted a panel of distinguished speakers who provided expert perspectives about changes made to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). They discussed the recent amendment to the law, The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (“Lautenberg Act”), which requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines.” An article on the event was published by MLive on March 29, 2017 and was later picked up for national distribution by Environmental Health News.

Through her direction of the Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease, a major sponsor of the event, Loch-Caruso helped to organize the forum. Local interest in the forum was high because one of the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated under the Lautenberg Act is 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that contaminates groundwater near and under the City of Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, since the 1960s. According to the article, this growing plume of 1,4-dioxane “…is now about four miles long and a mile wide and has polluted local lakes, creeks, residential drinking water wells and a city municipal water supply well that has been shut down.” The EPA states that the chemical is likely carcinogenic to humans “by all routes of exposure” and can cause health issues ranging from kidney and liver damage to eye, nose, and throat irritation.

The perspective of Loch-Caruso’s that is highlighted in the article is a sense of optimism that the changes being made in the EPA may potentially lead to a reevaluation of the impact toxic chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane are having on the community. Loch-Caruso stated, “I think there is hope . . . For one thing, having 1,4-dioxane as one of the first 10 chemicals that are going to be evaluated by the EPA under the Lautenberg amendment to TSCA is really a great sign. . . I’m interested in seeing better and more research done on 1,4-dioxane and encouraging that in any way in which I can.”