Dow Chemical is encouraging the Trump administration to pay no mind to government studies that found that pesticides known as organophosphates are harmful to some 1,800 threatened or endangered species.
The company’s attorneys sent letters to three departments in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet last week, according to The Associated Press. The letters urged the Trump administration "to set aside" government studies that found pesticides to be harmful.
This comes a month after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he was pulling back on an Obama-era effort that prohibited the use of chlorpyrifos pesticide on food. Former President Barack Obama had originally put this measure in place after studies surfaced saying the pesticides posed a threat to children’s brains.
A recent review of chlorpyrifos found a likelihood of adverse effects to 1,778 of the 1,835 animals and plants studied. Dow sells about 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos each year, the AP noted. Chlorpyrifos, along with diazinon and malathion, have been under review for about four years.
Dow has hired scientists "to produce a lengthy rebuttal to the government studies," the AP said.
Some of the animals that could be subject to harm, according to the government studies, include frogs, fish, birds and mammals.
The Dow subsidiary that sells chlorpyrifos issued a statement, saying its lawyers wanted the EPA’s assessment withdrawn, citing its lack of "scientific basis."
"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 statement said, according to the AP. "These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment."
Dow is no stranger to the Trump administration, as the company’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, heads up a White House manufacturing working group and the company gave Trump $1 million for his inaugural festivities in January.
"God help the person who dares to wonder aloud if the check was some sort of an attempt to curry favor with the administration," Bess Levin wrote in Vanity Fair.
Dow's spokeswoman called such claims "completely off the mark."
"Dow actively participates in policymaking and political processes, including political contributions to candidates, parties and causes, in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws," Rachelle Schikorra, director of public affairs, said, according to the AP. "Dow maintains and is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in all such activity."
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