US President Donald Trump made an announcement regarding nomination of Michael Dourson as the head of chemical and the pesticides office of the Environmental Protection Agency. Dourson has deep rooted links with the chemical business and he will be regulating the industry if he is confirmed as the head. He is a certified toxicologist who is well experienced in risk assessment and is a professor at the University Of Cincinnati College of medicine in the department of Risk science. Before joining the university, he worked in Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA) which was founded by him in 1995. Before 1995, Dourson held positions in EPA and he is a well-known name in the community of toxicology. He has also functioned in several toxicology journal boards and US government panels and has worked in numerous positions in the Society of Toxicology, Toxicology Education Foundation, and Society for Risk analysis and American Board of Toxicology.
The nomination of Dourson which however awaits confirmation was highly praised by American Chemistry Council, which is a trade group and they are influencing the Senate to confirm Dourson as the head. Nomination of Dourson has been announced during a crucial phase when EPA is implementing its Act of Toxic Substances Control. According to ACC, Dourson’s knowledge, leadership and experience will further intensify the process of assessment and integration of science in decision making.
However, several environmental groups are worried about Dourson being nominated due to his deep ties in the Chemical Industry and Tobacco Company. As claimed by Richard Denison, senior scientist of Environmental Defense fund, Dourson has been accepting work with major funding from chemical industries which is damaging public health protection with chemicals. He said that Dourson and TERA have carried out functions expansively for Texas Department of environmental quality to emasculate air pollution regulations by EPA. As per Denison, ACC also sent funds to Dourson while he was at TERA to build a web portal on chemical safety for children.
Michael Dourson is considered to be an alarming nominee by President Trump as he is the founder of a group which is helping industries to undercut chemical regulations by getting funds from chemical industries. TERA is taking funds from ACC to create misleading websites for kids and has been providing witnesses for Chemical Industries in courts to help these industries. Dourson has also worked in the tobacco industry to undermine the risks and TERA got funds from the tobacco industry to analyze and downplay the effects of indirect smoke. Dourson is also said to have given approval to perchlorate in drinking water by undercutting the regulations on rocket fuel chemical. In 2014 chemical spill in Elk River, TERA kept the health effects from spill hidden and let the people consume contaminated water. Dourson is thus considered to be scariest nominee who cares least about common people and more about his personal funds.
Trump’s decision of nominating Michael Dourson as head of chemicals office of the Environmental Protection Agency is not considered appropriate by many people, but the decision lies in the hands of the senate so all we can do is wait and watch.