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White House staffer: release of PFAS study would be a "public relations nightmare"

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According to emails obtained by the news agency Politico, the Trump Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency sought to block a study that says the EPA’s benchmark for Per-Poly fluorinated chemicals, at 70 parts per trillion, is in fact six times higher than what it should be.

Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the study places safe drinking levels at just 12 parts per trillion, and was blocked after White House staffer Jim Herz sent an email stating that the study’s findings would create a “public relations nightmare.”

Many politicians were quick to criticize the Trump administration.  

Locally, Michigan State Representative Winnie Brinks issued this statement:

“It does not surprise me that the Trump Administration and the EPA are more worried about a public relations nightmare than public health and are blocking this report. I call on the Trump Administration and the EPA to allow the release of this report so that we can have a real conversation about the actual health impacts that these chemicals have.”

The study comes on the heels of the Belmont and Rockford areas dealing with dozens of homes that have had their drinking water supply water contaminated from PFAS.

Dr. Alan Steinman is with the Annis Water Resources Institute at GVSU. He says that the true difference between 12 parts per trillion vs 70 parts per trillion is difficult to know.

I mean the reality is the science is very uncertain around PFAS and these numbers, that are coming out as an absolute threshold are not absolute. In this case the science is truly imperfect and there will have to be a lot more work done before we can have some certainty around that.”

Meanwhile, it has been three months since the PFAS study concluded, however there are no plans currently to publish the report.

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