Dow Chemical Asks US Government Agencies to Ignore US Government Scientists’ Pesticide Study
Over the last four years, US Federal Government scientists have been investigating the effects of organophosphate pesticides on endangered species. Their 10,000 page report concluded that the three pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion, each pose a risk to the 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species studied in the report. Given that they were originally derived from a nerve gas produced by the Nazis in Germany that may not come as such a surprise.
According to the Associated Press: “The EPA’s recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found the pesticide is ‘likely to adversely affect’ 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants accessed as part of its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals. Similar results were shown for malathion and diazinon.”
Lawyers representing Dow and two other companies manufacturing the pesticides sent letters to the EPA, the Department of Commerce, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, asking them to ‘set aside’ the government studies. Dow claims that the studies are ‘fundamentally flawed’ and has hired a bunch of scientists of its own who have, unsurprisingly perhaps, come up with a set of different results.
“In a statement, the Dow subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos said its lawyers asked for the EPA’s biological assessment to be withdrawn because its ‘scientific basis was not reliable.’”
“Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species.”
The current head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a Trump appointee, a climate change sceptic, and has a history of siding with commercial interests in legal disputes. He is behind the EPA’s decision to reverse the proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, predicated on its neurotoxic effects on children, despite the EPA issuing a report: “Chlorpyrifos Revised Human Health Risk Assessment,” which laid out the evidence that the pesticide can cause intelligence deficits and attention, memory, and motor problems in children.
A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley1 found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from new-born babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos.
Dow spent $13.6million dollars on lobbying the US Federal Government in 20162 and donated $1million dollars to President Trumps inauguration fund.3 In December 2016, President-Elect Trump appointed Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive of Dow Chemical, to head the US Manufacturing Council, a private sector group that advises the U.S. secretary of commerce.4 When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, Dow’s chief executive was at Trump’s side: “Andrew, I would like to thank you for initially getting the group together and for the fantastic job you’ve done,” Trump said as he presented Liveris with his ‘Presidential Pen’ as a souvenir.5
Dow’s director of public affairs, Rachelle Schikorra, told the AP, any suggestion that Dow has tried to curry favour with the Trump administration is “completely off the mark.” “Dow maintains and is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in all such activity.”
1. Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide, University of California, 2012: CLICK
2. Dow spent $13.6million dollars on lobbying the US Federal Government in 2016: CLICK
3. Dow Chemical donated $1million dollars to President Trumps inauguration fund: CLICK
4. President-Elect Trump appoints Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive of Dow Chemical, to head the US Manufacturing Council: CLICK
5. Trump presents Liveris with his ‘Presidential Pen’: CLICK