Dow Chemical Asks Trump Officials to Ignore Damning Pesticide Reports

Credit: fortune.com

Dow Chemical asked three high-ranking Trump administration officials to ignore government scientists’ own studies about the environmental risks posed by a major class of pesticides, according to the Associated Press.


The AP got its hands on letters that Dow sent to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior (Wilbur Ross and Ryan Zinke, respectively) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt--a noted opponent of environmental regulations and climate change skeptic who’s already moved to scrap Obama-era restrictions on certain pesticides. Last month, Pruitt reversed his own agency’s proposal to ban chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children exposed to the pest-killer.


It was against this backdrop that Dow, along with two other pesticide manufacturers, asked Trump officials to disregard government research that indicates a group of commonly used agriculture pesticides are harmful to 1,800 endangered and critically threatened animal species. In response, Dow is claiming these findings are flawed and should be “set aside” by the White House when considering proposed environmental protection rules. (When a team of the company’s own scientists examined the matter, Dow said, they came back with different results.)


Meanwhile Brett Hartl, a government scientist, is worried about how these chemicals could impact human health. “Endangered species are the canary in the coal mine,” he told the AP, since many of them reside in lakes and streams that serve as sources for human drinking water.


Fortune has reached out to Dow Chemical for comment and will update this post if it responds. Several Trump administration officials responded to the AP’s inquiries about the letter.






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“We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking,” J.P. Freire, the EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, told the outlet. “The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA’s regulations, while also reviewing past decisions.”


Dow is currently in the midst of a $62 billion attempted merger with DuPont; the companies received a regulatory thumbs-up from the European Union after agreeing to make big divestitures and split into three separate publicly traded companies after the corporate marriage.

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