EPA chief met with Dow CEO before agency reversed its position on banning Dow’s pesticide

Credit: Eduardo Mariano Rivero / Alamy Stock Photo

The Trump administration last month reversed its proposed ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxin that can harm children’s brains at exceedingly low exposures. In March, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met privately with Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, which developed chlorpyrifos and sells about 5 million pounds of the stuff annually in the United States. Let’s connect some more dots: Liveris contributed $1 million toward Trump’s inauguration and served on the president’s manufacturing advisory group during the transition. The president even gave Liveris a souvenir pen with which he signed a controversial executive order.

According to multiple reports, Pruitt met Liveris at a Houston hotel 20 days before his agency reversed its course on the chlorpyrifos ban. At a congressional hearing earlier this month, Pruitt insisted his decision to OK the pesticide was based on "meaningful data and meaningful science." When pressed to provide that data, EPA spokeswoman (who formerly represented the American Chemical Council) Liz Bowman issued the statement: "Despite several years of study, EPA has concluded that the science addressing chlorpyrifos remains unresolved." Huh… Perhaps the discrepancy has something to do with Dow asking the Trump administration in April to "set aside" the findings of federal scientists that organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, are harmful to young brains? Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to Pruitt saying, "There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women… The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous." 

NRDC is currently suing the EPA over its chlorpyrifos reversal. The law requires the agency to ensure pesticides used on food in the United States are safe for human consumption—especially for children whose bodies are more sensitive to chemical exposures.


Related Content