Lawyers representing Dow Chemical and two other makers of the organophosphates asked for the EPA’s biological assessment to be withdrawn because the “scientific basis was not reliable.”
CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, is a close adviser to President Donald Trump. If you think that might present a conflict of interest, you’re right. After a 10,000-page government-funded study concluded that three pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion — are “likely to adversely affect” approximately 1,800 animals and plants which are protected by the Endangered Species Act, lawyers representing Dow Chemical and two other pesticide-makers sent letters to the heads of three cabinet agencies. According to USA Today, the lawyers asked for the EPA’s biological assessment to be withdrawn because the “scientific basis was not reliable.”
A statement provided by the Dow subsidiary read:
“Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species. These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment.”
The statement received by FMC Corp., which sells malathion, stated that the withdrawal of the EPA studies would allow the necessary time for the “best available” scientific data to be compiled.”
Environmental advocates and credible scientists are declaring that criticism of the government’s scientists is unfounded. After all, the methods used to conduct the EPA’s biological evaluations were developed by the National Academy of Sciences.
Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, commented:
“Our government’s own scientists have already documented the grave danger these chemicals pose to people and endangered species Unable to win on the facts, Dow is now adopting the same disgraceful tactics honed by the tobacco industry and the climate deniers to try to discredit science and scrap reasonable conservation measures that will protect our most endangered animals and plants.”
Hartl also mentioned that the pesticide producers are trying to hold EPA scientists to an “unrealistic standard of data collection.” He declared,
“You can’t just take an endangered fish out of the wild, take it to the lab and then expose it to enough pesticides until it dies to get that sort of data. It’s wrong morally, and it’s illegal.”
Dow has been selling Chlorpyrifos for spraying on fruit crops, including citrus, apples, and cherries, since the 1960’s. Reportedly, it is the most widely used agricultural pesticide in the U.S. Every year, Dow Chemical sells 5 million pounds of the compound.
As a result of the insecticide being used so heavily, however, traces of it have been found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that 87% of umbilical-cord blood samples which were tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of the heavily-sprayed chemical.
As The Associated Press reports, Dow donated $1 million to the presidential inauguration and the company’s CEO, Liveris, leads Trump’s advisory council on manufacturing. After Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to “roll back government regulations,” he handed the pen to Dow’s chief executive and thanked Liveris (top photo).
Rachelle Schikorra, Dow’s director of public affairs, told the press that any suggestions that the company is attempting to influence the Trump administration’s regulatory decisions is “completely off the mark.”
“Dow actively participates in policymaking and political processes, including political contributions to candidates, parties and causes, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws,” Schikorra said.
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