|During a Senate hearing in late January, Ed Markey asked then-EPA director Scott Pruitt about a little rumor that he’d overheard. “It’s my understanding,” the Massachusetts senator said, “that the EPA has finalized its conclusion that formaldehyde causes leukemia and other cancers and that [the] completed new assessment is ready to be released for public review, but is being held up.”|
“You know, my understanding is similar to yours,” Pruitt replied.
Formaldehyde is one of the most ubiquitous industrial chemicals in the United States. It’s in much of the wooden furniture that Americans sit in, the body wash they clean themselves with — and, for those who live in the vicinity of a major refinery, the air that they breathe. And here, the director of the agency responsible for protecting the American people from toxic chemicals was saying, under oath, that he was vaguely aware of a report linking formaldehyde to a variety of terminal illnesses.