Trump Administration’s Dismissal of Children’s Health Chief Follows Troubling Pattern

Removal Comes One Day After Fighting Court-Ordered Ban on Pesticide Toxic to Kids

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration placed renowned public health expert and pediatrician Dr. Ruth Etzel on administrative leave from her position as the head of the Office of Children’s Health Protection at the Environmental Protection Agency without explanation yesterday. The move comes just one day after EPA fought a court-ordered decision to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide toxic to kids.

A statement follows from Dr. David Wallinga, MD, physician and Senior Health Officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This move comes against the backdrop of a disturbing pattern of blatant disregard for science and the protection of the most vulnerable among us: America's children. EPA owes the public an explanation for dismissing the head of an office that is critical to the federal government’s ability to protect children from a wide range of threats—from lead poisoning to brain-damaging pesticides. Rather than kids, it’s clear who this administration is fighting for—dangerous, powerful polluters. That’s something that people on both sides of the aisle should not stand for.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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