Let's talk about science
And how the EPA gets around it.
Today The Guardian and The New Lede published the third story in the series about paraquat and Parkinson’s disease - a look into why so many independent scientists say there is a clear association between the common weed killer and the dreaded brain disease, but regulators disagree.
(If you missed the first piece - a deep dive into secret internal corporate documents held by Syngenta and Chevron - be sure to read it here, or a slightly more detailed version here.)
Among the nuggets of news is this:
The EPA had looked at 26 epidemiological studies in its assessment of paraquat and Parkinson’s and all but two of them found positive associations between the pesticide and the disease. Yet the EPA downgraded most of those studies, focusing on those that did not find an association. The agency similarly dismissed many animal studies that found an association.
Records show that one of the EPA officials signing off on that EPA paraquat assessment had come to the EPA from an industry position. Biologist Kristin Rickard served at the time as the acting branch chief for the EPA risk assessment branch evaluating paraquat. Before joining the EPA, Rickard worked for CropLife America, the powerful Washington-based lobbying organization that represents the pesticide industry.
“Croplife’s entire purpose is to get the pesticide industry whatever it wants,” said Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Someone from that world should not be making decisions that have such an enormous impact on public health.”
Rickard now works as a senior scientific evaluator at Health Canada.
Read more about the debate over the science at The New Lede, and please share.