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Trump EPA appointee blocked public release of cancer danger, inspector general says

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by essentialsaltes, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. essentialsaltes

    essentialsaltes Stranger in a Strange Land

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    The EPA inspector general said Bill Wehrum, a former attorney for the fossil fuel industry who led the air and radiation office, directed officials who investigated the presence of dangerous chemical in Willowbrook, Illinois, to "not release monitoring results to the public."

    Wehrum blocked plans by local EPA officials in the summer of 2018 to post a website revealing air monitoring data from the Sterigenics facility there. The facility sterilized medical equipment using the chemical ethylene oxide, a chemical the government says is linked to lymphoma, leukemia, stomach, and breast cancers. A 2016 review of the chemical found it 30 times more cancer-causing than previously thought, and dropped the word "probably" from its assessment of cancer links.

    When local officials put the site online two months later, Wehrum's deputy ordered it pulled down, the report said. The website "was online for about an hour before the then-deputy assistant administrator for Air and Radiation directed Region 5 to take the webpage down," according to the inspector general.

    Wehrum resigned from the EPA in 2019, about a year after his initial move to block the Willowbrook website, under a cloud of ethical concerns.
     
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