Trump’s EPA Pick Hasn’t “Looked at the Scientific Research” on Lead Poisoning

Scott Pruitt said he’s “very concerned” about lead contanimation. But his lack of familiarity with the science is surprising.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged Wednesday that he isn’t familiar with basic science on the health effects of lead. At his confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt was asked by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md) whether he believes there is any safe level of lead in the human body. “That’s something I have not reviewed nor know about,” Pruitt responded. He went on to say that he would be “very concerned about any level of lead” in drinking water or human consumption but added that he had “not looked at the scientific research on that.”

You can watch the video here.

It’s heartening to know that Pruitt is concerned about lead poisoning. But his lack of familiarity with research on the issue is surprising for someone who is seeking to run the nation’s top environmental regulatory body. After all, the science on the issue is clear: According to the Centers for Disease Control, “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” The EPA itself agrees, stating that “there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood.”

The city of Flint, Michigan, has been in the headlines since 2015, after it was revealed that the city’s water supply had been contaminated with lead, leaving thousands of children exposed to poisoned water. During the hearing, Pruitt criticized the EPA for not responding quickly enough to the Flint crisis.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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