Tracking the Environmental Policies of the Trump Administration >>
Arsenic, Pesticides, Chemicals in Kids? Trump Adviser Ebell and Breitbart Dismiss Concerns, Target EWG
Myron Ebell, head of President-elect Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency transition team, is a notorious denier of global warming whose biography unashamedly notes that activists consider him a "climate criminal." But he's also director of environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which touts "the life-enhancing value of chemicals" – chemicals like arsenic, DDT and PCBs.
One of the the Competitive Enterprise Institute's projects is SafeChemicalPolicy.org. The site is bursting with articles and reports that cast doubt on the dangers of toxic chemicals and pesticides in food, water and consumer products, and disparage the work of public health advocates. (EWG is one of the site's favorite targets.)
Here are just a few examples:
- SafeChemicalsPolicy.org downplays the risks of arsenic in drinking water and toxic pesticides found on foods young children love to eat.
- An article on the site says it’s wrong for schools to notify parents before pesticides are sprayed inside and around schools.
- It disparages public health advocates’ concerns over fetuses being exposed to endocrine disruptors in the womb, including Monsanto’s notorious PCBs and the now-banned pesticide DDT.
- It actually makes the claim that glyphosate – the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, which the World Health Organization considers probably carcinogenic to humans – has "liberated" children from having to work in corn fields, pulling weeds.
"The simple reality," says the site, "is that modern living means living with chemicals." We couldn't agree more. The problem is that too many of those chemicals are hazardous to our health. The EPA is supposed to protect us from dangerous chemicals, not defend them, as Ebell would almost certainly do if he ran the agency.
As it turns out, EWG is a popular target among Trump’s other top advisers. Steve Bannon, the former campaign CEO and incoming chief White House strategist, attacked us when he was running the alt-right website Breitbart News.
We’re used to it. In fact, when science deniers like Myron Ebell and Steve Bannon regularly get worked up over something you’ve said or done, it usually means you’ve said or done something right.
Photo Courtesy of Competitive Enterprise Institute