The New EPA
As I stated in a previous post, the EPA’s original mandate was to test for pesticides in our environment. Apparently, that will no longer be the case under the new guy, Pruitt. He signed an order on Wednesday denying the agencies proposal to ban chlorpyifos. This chemical is a nerve agent that interrupts the electrochemical processes that nerves use to communicate with muscles and other nerves. Chlorpyrifos is also an endocrine disrupter, meaning it can cause "adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects," according to the National Institutes of Health. Low doses of chlorpyrifos inhibits kids' brain development, with effects ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. It is used mainly on corn and soybeans in the Midwest and on fruit, vegetable, and orchard crops in Washington, California, and the Southeast including alfalfa, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, tomatoes, and strawberries. This pesticide cannot be washed off by tap water.
This notorious carcinogen has devastated hundreds of thousands of American families. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a champion of environmental concerns, noted that mortality records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that from 1999 to 2014, nearly 63,000 Americans died from asbestosis and mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. Fifty-eight nations have banned asbestos, but in 1991, a federal court overturned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ban. Last year, former President Barack Obama signed an update to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act into law, finally giving the EPA authority to ban asbestos use and importation. During Pruitt’s confirmation hearing, Markey asked about his stance on asbestos. Pruitt refused to affirm that he would push through a full ban of asbestos.
Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems. The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments. Pruitt even made comments that he wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to take lead out of gasoline.
As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA over mercury pollution regulations from coal plants. Mercury is a neurotoxin. Coal-fired power plants remain one of the largest mercury pollutants, emitting around 33 tons of mercury every year and contributing to half of all mercury emissions. Another source includes chemical manufacturing plants (which emit another 10–12 tons of mercury per year). Some of the mercury in the atmosphere ends up in the oceans where it moves into the food chain. Eating fish is the main source of human exposure to mercury. Methylmercury affects more than 630,000 newborns each year, interfering with brain and nervous system development. Deficits in cognitive thinking, memory, language, motor and visual spatial skills have all been linked to children exposed to methylmercury in the womb. It’s because of these risks that women are advised to abstain from eating fish while they are pregnant or nursing.
Scientists have understood for more than a century that CO2 traps heat. Atmospheric concentrations of the gas have increased by more than a third since the industrial revolution, driven by the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Pruitt said that he did not believe that the release of CO2, a heat-trapping gas, was pushing global temperatures upwards. Pruitt’s comments were quickly condemned by scientists, environmental activists and even his immediate predecessor as EPA chief, Gina McCarthy.
“The world of science is about empirical evidence, not beliefs,” said McCarthy, “When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high.”
Carbon emission regulations that were put in place by the Obama Administration were rolled back by the Trump administration last week.
Under the new leadership in the White House and the EPA, the environment and human health is not safe. It will be profits over people. Too bad the petrol-chemical industry has our politicians in their back pockets and human health by the cohonies.