Erin Brockovich slams Trump administration over plan to stop regulating toxic chemicals

Environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich is slamming the Trump administration over reports that it has decided not to regulate two toxic chemicals commonly found in the public water supply.

“I think it’s absolutely foolish that the administration does not take water quality seriously,” Brockovich told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball during an interview Thursday that aired on “Rising.”

Politico reported Monday that the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to no longer enforce utility companies to test or remove the chemicals PFOA and PFOS from their water supply under the Clean Water Act.

Brockovich warns that the two chemicals in question are not only dangerous, but also heavily prevalent throughout the water system across the country.

She first rose to prominence for her work on a class-action lawsuit against the California-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co in 1993. Despite a lack of formal education, she exposed the company for leaking toxic chemicals into the groundwater and poisoning residents in the town of Hinkley.

The story was later turned into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Julia Roberts. 

Brockovich has since become a leading advocate for public health issues.

“I don’t care if anyone says I’m sounding the alarm, I’m happy to sound the alarm, we have a very serious water issue in this country,” Brockovich told Hill.TV.

PFOA and PFOS have been increasingly regulated in some states due to their potential risks.

The two chemicals are part of a group of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). For decades, these man-made chemicals have been widely used as a key ingredient in hundreds of consumer products, which includes everything from fire-fighting foams to stain repellents and nonstick cookware.

The EPA has acknowledged that PFAS chemicals have been found at low levels in the environment as well as in the bloodstream of Americans across the country. Some studies have even found a link between PFOA and certain types of cancer as well as various immune system deficiencies.

In response to the growing concern surrounding the report, the EPA issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that it has not “finalized or publicly issued” a PFAS management plan, adding that "any information that speculates what is included in the plan is premature.”

The EPA also emphasized that it remains “committed to following the Safe Drinking Water Act process for evaluating drinking water standards.”

Brockovich said local officials and agencies will nevertheless need to step up their efforts to protect citizens.

“We’re going to have to state by state, agency by agency and people by people continue to push out and fight against this because this is one of the most dangerous chemicals we’ve seen,” she told Hill.TV.

—Tess Bonn