EPA watchdog knocks Trump officials over weakened assessment for toxic chemical

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog on Tuesday knocked a Trump-era move in which political officials weakened an assessment on the dangers of a toxic chemical. 

The Office of the EPA’s Inspector General issued a new report that stated political appointees used a last-minute disagreement to take the “unprecedented” step of listing a range of values for the toxicity of a chemical known as PFBS instead of a definitive toxicity level.

It also said that anyone in charge of cleaning up PFBS contamination could have used a lower estimation of the chemical’s toxicity level as a result. It said that this could have caused the use of “less costly, but possibly insufficient” actions to mitigate a contamination problem.

However, the report notes that the assessment in question was only in effect for a few weeks, as it was later revoked by the Biden administration. 

Overall, the watchdog states that the move by political officials delayed the release of a toxicity assessment for PFBS and weakened the agency’s “commitments to scientific integrity and information quality.”

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