The EPA Hides Study Because "It's A Publicity Nightmare"

Submitted by: normalfreak2 3 months ago in Misc News & Politics Science Weird


Per the Reporting from Politico

The study would show that the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than EPA has previously called safe, according to the emails.

“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan. 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the OMB. The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and the HHS unit saysit has no scheduled date to release it for public comment. Critics say the delay shows the Trump administration is placing politics ahead of an urgent public health concern — something they had feared would happen after agency leaders like Pruitt started placing industry advocates in charge of issues like chemical safety.


Remember Scott Pruitt's focus was water, how in the world does this report which STILL hasn't been published comport with Scott's promise to maintain clean drinking water.

Scott Pruitt is a vile person and is ruining the EPA at the cost of American's lives and livelyhoods.  A Swampthing in it's purest form. 

For laughs here's what Scott Pruitt's chief of staff said defending this absurd position.  I'll give you a gold star if you can tell me what the hell he's saying here:

Pruitt‘s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, defended EPA’s actions, telling POLITICO the agency was helping “ensure that the federal government is responding in a uniform way to our local, state, and Congressional constituents and partners.”
There are 30 comments:
Male 1,804
ho boy, talk about the kettle calling the pot black.
Democrats and Progressives have perverted science to say what they want it to say.  ANY dissenting opinion is ridiculed.  And the EPA was ground zero for this abuse of science.  No matter WHAT Pruitt does, he will have a hard time getting the EPA back on course, it has been so driven hard-left for a decade.
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Female 914
spanz Yeah, who wants to err on the side of clean, drinkable water?
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Male 485
Sums it up.

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Male 11,562
This is why the people need to stand up in great numbers, gather at their government houses and chant 4 words over and over and over, until they get their nation back:
  1. Death
  2. To
  3. The
  4. Presidency

Hopefully someone leaks it.  A government has no right to hide the truth from the people.
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Male 5,038
monkwarrior The problem isn't the Office of President so much as the two party stranglehold on it and just about everything else.
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Male 11,562
trimble ... the office that has power to change can change that, but doesn't.
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Male 5,038
monkwarrior I know.
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Male 1,728
monkwarrior Shitty sit-in. Go do it yourself.
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Male 11,562
marsii i do my part, do yours
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Female 5,093
No shit? you mean a government department is not telling the truth about something?
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Male 577
Follow the money.
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Male 31
The study in question deals with Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).  I happen to live in an area that is dealing with PFAS contaminated water, so I have some understanding of the subject.  PFAS are man-made substances that are persistent in the environment and bioaccumulative in the body.  They have been used in a number of products over the years, from fire-fighting foam to waterproofing.

The current drinking water standard used by the EPA is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) and was set in 2016.  This report proposes dropping that to 12 ppt.  The science regarding the health effects of PFAS is very much in debate.  Numerous studies have been conducted comparing exposure levels, blood levels, and presence or absence of disease.  While there is certainly a correlation between exposure levels and blood levels, there is less of a correlation between blood levels and disease.  There have been several studies that showed a correlation between the presence of elevated blood levels, but little in the way of a true dose-response relationship (higher blood levels => more or more severe disease).  

The EPA considers PFAS an "emerging contaminant."  An “emerging contaminant” is a chemical or material that is characterized by a perceived, potential, or real threat to human health or the environment or by a lack of published health standards.  There is a temptation to say that the exposure limit should be set extremely low to make sure the public is protected, but there are real costs associated with doing so.  Cleanup projects are underway on many of these contaminated areas, and changing the standard dramatically would require a complete re-evaluation and revision before continuing.  This will delay the cleanup and potentially expose more people.  Lowering the standard would dramatically increase the difficulty and direct cost of the cleanup.  The potential for ever-expanding lawsuits would also increase.  Finally, PR is a real issue.  Regardless of a company's or military base's response to PFAS contamination, they are regularly portrayed in the media as evil and uncaring.  

As a point of reference, Australia also set a PFAS drinking water standard in 2016.  Using much of the same research and data, Australia set the limit at 70 nanograms per liter.  This translates to 70 parts per million, or 70,000 ppt.  There is obviously some substantial disagreement in the medical community as to the potential harm of PFAS.  Given this disagreement, attempting to lower the standard by a factor of 6 would be expected to meet some resistance.

Sorry for the long post, but as always, complex issues resist being made simple just to fit a soundbite.  
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Male 17,314
MISafetyman are you sure it doesn't just taste funny?
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Male 1,728
MISafetyman When I fuck the government's shit up the judge doesn't look at me and say "jeez this fine would ruin you. Let's just cover it up." Why the fuck should these companies get to ruin my drinking water for generations and stay in business?
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Male 2,469
marsii   You miss the point there is no preponderance of evidence to say that they are fucking up your life or water, what he is saying is that there is a very large consequence to lowering the standard and there is at this time no real consensus on the danger.
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Male 9,191
casaledana Did you just ignore the e-mail from the OMB and DOD?  They are/were covering up the evidence that these chemicals are probably more dangerous than previously known.
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Male 31
normalfreak2 Did you just ignore the studies that aren't showing that they are more dangerous?  (BTW, the e-mails aren't included in the story, merely the report of emails.)  casaledana correctly sums up that there is contradictory evidence.  To reiterate my point, it may seem prudent to rely on the worst case study and take allowable limits to a minimum, but the cost/benefit analysis is impossible to examine without knowing if there is actual benefit to doing so.
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Male 9,191
MISafetyman Did you just ignore the studies that aren't showing that they are more dangerous? 


Except that's not true at all.  There's a strong correlation between increased exposure to the chemicals in the blood and people getting major diseases.  The evidence is starting to show that current limits aren't low enough and should be much lower than they currently are.  Lowering the allowable dumping limit will benefit us way more than letting companies dump this shit in the water.  The price of healthcare for all the people getting sick will affect the taxpayer, also what you aren't considering is this opens up a major legal issue, this is now a "KNOWN" danger lawsuits can be made now stating the Government knew something at this point and choose to ignore it for the sake of Private profits.  This is the OPPOSITE of what the EPA was implemented for.
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Male 1,728
casaledana If only they weren't covering up some evidence to the contrary as is the topic of the post.
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Male 6,496
Not a big fan of the partisan dig at the beginning of this Post. The comments get partisan enough.
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Male 9,191
markust I could have done without it but in this case the shoe fit, so I put it in.
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Male 2,047
normalfreak2 Well, allow me to remind you about Hillary and her illegal emails.

-distraction over - 

can we get to the facts now?
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Male 5,038
"But some of the biggest liabilities reside with the Defense Department"...That's always been the case, The EPA is there to give a free pass to one of the largest polluters, The US government.
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Male 6,496
A president should represent businesses AND the people. This is what happens when you vote in someone who only represents one side and appoints leaders who will only represent their side.

Donald Trump appoints a state Attorney General who has sued the EPA over a dozen times. His nominee was also a state senator for eight years.

Barack Obama appoints a chemical engineer with 16 years of experience at the EPA, four years as a state assistant commissioner of compliance and enforcement and as the assistant commissioner for land use management, and two years as a state Commissioner of Environmental Protection. That's 22 years of experience in the field.
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Male 5,156
Meanwhile...at the Hall Of Injustice...

https://sciencetrends.com/trump-administration-kills-nasa-program-for-monitoring-greenhouse-gases/

"The decision to cut funding for CMS was just one portion of a substantial effort by the Trump administration to undermine climate research. The administration has repeatedly proposed budget cuts to many environmental/climate science programs including many programs falling under NASA’s Earth Science division. NASA’s Earth Science programs include not only the CMS program but also Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, a program using orbital sensors designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide."

This program runs about $10mil a year, considering the importance of the research, the overall cost is quite minimal.  What reason is there to shut it down other than to prevent actual data from being collected that shows there is a problem.  That way it's easier to deny.
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Male 698
Anybody think they didn't know this years ago?
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Male 7,224
Shelworth Still current issue though
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Male 6,364
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Male 17,314
I don't understand how anyone can think it's a good way to run the EPA. Not even Republicans. 
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Male 7,224
Draculya They do because they are well paid idiots
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