Letter to the Editor: Published in The East Hampton Star, April 27, 2017
In one of Kate McKinnon’s last appearances on Saturday Night Live as Hillary Clinton, she appeared at the door of an Electoral College voter. In an attempt to persuade the voter to vote for her instead of Mr. Trump, “Mrs. Clinton” warned “if Donald Trump becomes President, he’ll kill us all.”
Fast forward just three months. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has rejected conclusions of the EPA’s own scientists recommending that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned. Research by Columbia University found that the effects of the common insecticide, chlorpyrifos, could still be found in the brains of exposed young children even as they were approaching puberty. The study revealed that children exposed to chlorpyrifos in the womb had persistent changes in their brains throughout childhood, and exposure could cause significant health problems, including learning and memory declines. The use of chlorpyrifos in most household settings has been banned since 2000.
In rejecting these studies, which experts concluded was “pretty solid science,” Mr. Pruitt sided with Dow Chemical (the marketer of the pesticide) and large farming combines, which argued that the “solid” science demonstrating that chlorpyrifos caused such harm was inconclusive. Mr. Pruitt sought unconvincingly to justify his ruling by explaining that the agency desired to provide regulatory certainty to the makers and users of the pesticide by “returning to using sound science in decision-making” and paying lip service to the protection of citizens’ health and the environment. So, self-serving industry opinions trump empirical scientific studies – even when it comes to our health. It seems that when inconvenient truths get in the way of Mr. Trump’s agenda, they are no longer truths in his alternative universe.
Wash your apples.