The Trump administration has reportedly tried to bury a federal study which reveals that the groundwater around military bases is dangerously polluted at a much higher level than the White House previously understood. That's according to an article in the New Republic, which claims that Trump's political advisors and Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had tried to convince the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to "block" the release of study's findings
Politico reports that the Trump aides feared that the report could trigger a public relations disaster for the federal government.
"The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge," the unidentified source told Politico in May. "The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be."
The study was not released.
According to Politico, the report shows that chemicals in the water around military bases can endanger human health at levels far lower than the EPA previously deemed safe. The chemicals in question are called perfluoroalkyls, or PFAS, which can be found in a wide variety of items, from frying pans to military firefighting foams. This equipment is often used during military training at bases across the United States. These foams have found their way into the drinking water around these bases. This is a worrying development since the Department of Defense has previously said that 3 million people get their water from their systems.
As ProPublica states, these PFAs are far more dangerous than previously thought, according to the federal report. Drinking water contaminated with PFAs has been linked to cancer, thyroid and liver damage, increased susceptibility to asthma and diminished fertility, among other conditions.
New Republic reports that the study was "quietly" published on Wednesday amidst the media frenzy that surrounded the government's decision to separate the children of illegal immigrants from their parents. It contradicts previous EPA assurances that the water around military bases was safe to drink despite the presence of PFAs. The new research shows that PFAs can damage human health even at levels as low as 7 to 11 parts per trillion.News about the military base water crisis and the attempted alleged cover-up is beginning to trickle out to the general public. The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, tweeted about the crisis calling it "shameful."
"Everyone involved in the cover-up should be out of a job by Monday," the former governor of California wrote. "No American should be tricked into drinking polluted water, but this is NOT how we support our military."
The tweet has over 1,000 likes at the writing of this article.