EPA waters down rules

I’ll bet Trump supporters in Merrimack, Litchfield and other towns locally impacted by perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, contamination in their drinking water are thrilled that Trump’s EPA appointees are looking out for the interests of the chemical industry rather than average citizens like themselves.

As reported by Eric Lipton in the Oct. 21, 2017, New York Times, a top Trump administration EPA appointee has insisted upon rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of PFOA, which has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems. The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Dr. Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the EPA’s toxic chemical unit in May as a top deputy.

For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association. The changes directed by Beck may result in an “underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment” caused by PFOA and other so-called legacy chemicals no longer sold on the market, an EPA Office of Water’s top official warned in a confidential internal memo.

As Mr. Lipton reports, the EPA’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.

Just another example of ‘making America great again.’ But the question is, for whom?