In a decision deemed by critics unsurprising but also “absolutely unconscionable,” the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly plans to refrain from regulating a pair of toxic chemicals linked to kidney and testicular cancer, even though they are contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water.
“This administration prioritizes corporate profits over public safety, pure and simple.”
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch
Sources familiar with an unreleased draft plan approved last month by acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Politico that the chemicals PFOA and PFOS will remain unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, meaning that “utilities will face no federal requirements for testing for and removing the chemicals from drinking water supplies, although several states have pursued or are pursuing their own limits.”
The chemicals “have been used for decades in products such as Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam, and are present in the bloodstreams of an estimated 98 percent of Americans,” Politico pointed out. That means, given that they have “contaminated groundwater near hundreds of military bases and chemical plants,” any intensive regulation of them would force companies such as 3M as well as the Defense Department to spend billions of dollars on cleanup efforts.
“If these sources are right, the EPA is essentially telling the more than 110 million Americans whose water is likely contaminated with PFAS: ‘Drink up, folks,'” warned Environmental Working Group senior scientist David Andrews, Ph.D. “The most efficient and equitable way to remove these chemicals from the nation’s drinking water supply is to use the agency’s authority to set legal limits… It’s a national problem, and it needs a national solution.”
“It is absolutely unconscionable for the Trump administration to refuse to even start the process of setting a limit on these poisonous chemicals,” declared Erik Olson of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Communities around the country need swift, meaningful action from the government. Punting responsibility to the private sector and states is a total abdication of EPA’s role in protecting the American people.”
“It is absolutely unconscionable for the Trump administration to refuse to even start the process of setting a limit on these poisonous chemicals.”
—Erik Olson, NRDC
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