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EPA nominee Scott Pruitt: I don’t “know about” the science of lead poisoning.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has sued the Environmental Protection Agency 14 times, including a failed suit in which more than 20 states attempted to block an agency rule limiting mercury emissions from oil- and coal-fired power plants. So it’s no surprise that he was asked in Wednesday’s Senate confirmation hearing about the regulation of harmful pollutants.

“Do you believe there’s any safe level of lead that can be taken into the human body, particularly a young person?” Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, asked.

“That’s something I have not reviewed nor know about,” Pruitt replied. “I would be concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water. Or obviously human consumption. But I have not looked at the scientific research on that.”

That the would-be head of the agency responsible for regulating lead pollution in our air and water has “not looked at the scientific research” is concerning, to say the least. All Pruitt need do is spend a few minutes on the CDC website, which says, “There is no known identified safe” level of lead in the bloodstream. “Millions of children are being exposed to lead in their homes, increasing their risks for damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems (e.g., reduced IQ, ADHD, juvenile delinquency, and criminal behavior), and hearing and speech problems.”