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Pesticide maker Dow Chemical tries to kill risk study

WASHINGTON — Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration that’s open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to President Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last month that he would reverse an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children’s brains. For four years, federal scientists have compiled an official record, running more than 10,000 pages, indicating that the three pesticides under review — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — pose a risk to nearly every endangered species they studied. Regulators at the three federal agencies, which share responsibilities for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, are close to issuing findings expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used. The EPA’s recent biological evaluation of chlorpyrifos found that the pesticide is “likely to adversely affect” 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants in its study, including critically endangered or threatened species of frogs, fish, birds and mammals. “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,” it said. Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Dow’s experts are trying to hold EPA scientists to an unrealistic standard of data collection. When Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, he gave the pen as a souvenir to Dow’s CEO.

Article by By Michael Biesecker (c) Business and Technology News - Read full story here.