It’s as if the Trump administration has been on a warpath with Mother Earth, revoking or rolling back 66 environmental regulations since taking office, eight of which have taken place since April, when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to ravage cities across the United States. Now, Trump has done it again, announcing June 18 that there will no longer be regulations or limits to perchlorate in drinking water, a toxic chemical compound that has been linked to brain damage in infants.
The announcement came from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which said that levels of perchlorate had already been reduced in some states, including California, Nevada and Massachusetts, thanks to improved storage for drinking water disinfectants.
Regulations were placed on perchlorate in 2011 after the Obama administration concluded that drinking water for as many as 16 million Americans had been contaminated with perchlorate due to runoff.
“Today’s decision is built on science and local success stories and fulfills President Trump’s promise to pare back burdensome ‘one-size-fits-all’ overregulation for the American people,” EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The science he is referring to is based on a health analysis conducted by the agency, which found that higher concentrations of perchlorate were needed to cause health concerns than levels found in 2011. And now, Wheeler said, “state and local water systems are effectively managing levels of perchlorate.”
The news was met with concern by environmental activists, including Erik Olsen, senior strategic director for health at the National Resources Defense Council. “The Environmental Protection Agency is threatening the health of pregnant moms and young children with toxic chemicals in their drinking water at levels that literally can cause loss of I.Q. points,” he told the New York Times.