New Reports Document How Trump Administration’s Rollbacks Harm Infants and Kids

Photo: Scott Smith, AP

Two new reports from the Union of Concerned Scientists explain in detail how this administration’s rollbacks of bedrock environmental, health and safety standards have exposed children to more poisons in the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air that they breathe and has actively suppressed the science that would give us a greater understanding of how children are uniquely affected by chemicals and toxins.  Similarly, The Hill reported that on Tuesday experts on lead contamination in the nation’s water supply criticized the EPA’s proposed rule to clean up drinking water supplies saying that it does not go far enough in order to protect children from exposure to lead — an issue that was brought to light by the scandal over Flint, Michigan’s water.

Why This Matters:  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says no safe blood-lead level for lead has been found for children — they should not be exposed at all.  But to replace every lead pipe in this country would be a very long and expensive process — the City of New York said a zero exposure standard is not attainable.  Still, we can and must do better. President Trump told right to life activists that he is a strong defender of unborn children at a recent D.C. rally, but when it comes to those who have already been born, not so much.  It is hard to imagine anyone in the U.S. actively supporting putting pollution before kids.  

Getting the Lead Out

Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, who helped publicize the Flint, Mich., water crisis, told lawmakers that a plan based solely on health protection would eliminate lead from service lines and maximize corrosion control so children are not exposed to it. But a representative from the City of New York said EPA’s proposed rule is better than “setting unattainable mandates such as a deadline for the replacement of all lead service lines nationwide.”  The proposed rule would not mandate replacement of lead pipes unless the lead levels in the drinking water reach 15 ppb, and they would only be required to replace 3 percent of lead service lines each year, less than the current requirement of 7 percent.

Union of Concerned Scientists Reports

The first one entitled “Breathe In the Smog, Drink In the Lead: A Grim Scary Tale for People Who Care About Kids.” provides a wide range of examples, from unsafe strollers to harmful chemicals, how administration policies harm kids.  It concludes that “Trump administration decisions are putting some children and families in immediate danger, threatening the long-term health of many, and stealing futures of this generation and others to come.”  The second one, entitled Endangering Generations: How the Trump Administration’s Assault on Science is Harming Children’s Health, documents how polluted air and water, unsafe products, and contaminated meat threaten children because they “are not just little adults; they eat, drink, and breath more relative to their body size, making their exposure to toxic substances more pronounced. Early life exposure can affect children’s development, both physical and mental, throughout their lifespans.”

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