FDA: It’s Safe to Eat Romaine Lettuce Again, But Check Labels

E.J. Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

Caesar salad fans, rest easy: It’s safe to eat romaine lettuce again.

Just be sure to check the label, to avoid any chance of E. coli, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now says.

In a statement released late Monday, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that the agency was lifting its advisory against eating romaine lettuce, first put in place last Tuesday.

At that point, the agency hadn’t been able to narrow down the source of the tainted lettuce, Gottlieb explained. But now the source seems to be “end of season” lettuce, harvested somewhere in the Central Coast regions of central and northern California.

And, “harvesting of romaine lettuce from this region has [already] ended for the year,” Gottlieb noted.

So, starting as early as this week, romaine lettuce sold in stores will carry labels listing the region where the produce was grown, along with its harvest date, the FDA said. By checking these labels, consumers can quickly determine that the produce is safe to eat.

“Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,” Gottlieb stressed.

That would include romaine farmed in Arizona, Florida and Mexico, as well as California’s Imperial Valley — lettuce harvested from these areas is OK to eat.

“Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,” Gottlieb added. “There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.”

If heads of romaine are sold loose, without affixed labels, retailers are being asked to post a notice showing place and date of harvest near the store register.

Such labeling may become standard going forward, according to an agreement between the FDA and the leafy greens industry, the agency said.

So far, 43 people across 12 states have been sickened in this latest outbreak of E. coli, with onset in the last case occurring on Oct. 31.

Twenty-two more cases have been reported in Canada. No deaths have yet been reported in the outbreak.

“Through laboratory studies we have identified that theE. coliO157:H7 strain causing the outbreak is similar to one that produced an outbreak ofE. coliO157:H7 in thefall of 2017 that also occurred in the U.S. and Canada, which was associated with consumption of leafy greens in the U.S. and specifically romaine lettuce in Canada,” Gottlieb said.

So who’s most at risk from E. coli?

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who’s seen the effects of infection with the gastrointestinal bug firsthand. It’s not a minor ailment, he said.

“In general, symptoms of E. coli infection generally begin about three to four days after consuming the bacteria, and may include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and watery or bloody diarrhea, along with fever,” Glatter said.

And while healthy people who battle a bout of E. coli typically recover within five to seven days, the illness can be more protracted — and even deadly — for people already made vulnerable by chronic disease or advanced age.

“People with diabetes, kidney disease or those with cancer or autoimmune disease run the risk of a more severe illness,” Glatter explained.

The particular strain of E. coli detected in the current lettuce outbreak — E. coli O157:H7 — is particularly nasty, he noted.

“Most strains of E. coli do not actually cause diarrhea, but E. coli O157 produces a powerful toxin that injures the inner lining of the small intestine, leading to bloody diarrhea,” Glatter said. Even a tiny amount of ingested bacteria could spur this type of illness.

“It can make people much more ill, and may lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, in some cases,” he said.

Indeed, the CDC has reported one such case already in the latest outbreak.

In many cases, antibiotics are used to help beat back an E. coli infection, but these drugs can affect the kidneys, Glatter noted.

“Antibiotics may be necessary in certain cases, so it’s important to see your doctor if you have continued and severe symptoms such as fever, bloody diarrhea, and you are not able to eat or drink,” he said.

However, in the case of E. coli O157:H7, “taking antibiotics may actually increase your risk of developing kidney failure, so it’s important to speak with your health care provider if you should develop severe symptoms,” Glatter advised.

And if you do think you might be sick with E. coli, or any other foodborne illness, make sure you don’t spread it to those near you.

The bacterium “can be transmitted person-to-person, so it’s vital that anyone who is potentially infected wash their hands thoroughly and not share utensils, cups or glasses,” Glatter said. “This also goes for bath towels. Linens also need to be washed in hot water and treated with bleach.”

He noted that “ground beef, unpasteurized milk, fresh produce and contaminated water are common sources of E. coli bacteria.”

Source: HealthDay


Food Trend: 2050 China Food Tech Summit

Chen May Yee wrote . . . . . . . . .

China turns to tech for better and safer food.

With its huge population and history of famines, China’s food challenges in the past were centred on with how to feed a multitude of people. The future will be more about feeding them well.

An unusual collection of players—from vegan evangelists to cultured-meat scientists, chickpea proponents, blockchain startups and venture funds—converged last week on the PwC Shanghai Innovation Centre, for what was billed as the country’s first food tech investment conference. The 2050 China Food Tech Summit—2050 is the year that the world population is expected to exceed 9.6 billion—was organized by Bits x Bites, a food-focused accelerator and venture fund.

“In the last five years, we have seen a shift from thinking about quantity to quality, with new technologies,” said Vincent Martin, China representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, and a panelist at the meeting. “Whatever is done here in China will have repercussions for the rest of the world.”

Attendees came from across China and as far away as Germany, Switzerland, Israel, the United States, Australia and Singapore. Many were looking at China as a market and production base as well as a real-life test site for new ideas at significant scale.

But scale isn’t the only challenge. Food safety scandals in recent years have prompted new regulations in China as well as a wider rethinking of which food supply systems are sustainable. Consumers—especially those in top-tier cities—are increasingly health conscious and demanding more nutritious food with traceable origins.

“Millennials and flexitarians will be the driving force of the market in the future,” said Hazel Zhang, founder and CEO of VegPlanet, a vegan and sustainable living media platform in China with 330,000 followers on WeChat. “We already see this happening in the West. In China, it will be the same—they care not only about the environment, they care about their health, they care about their body. If we have plant-based protein that tastes really great and is hopefully cheap, I see this trend is really coming. The tipping point may come in 10 years.”

Others saw a more diversified market. “I see a place for cell-based, a place for plant-based,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies, a cultured meat startup. “It doesn’t have to be around ideology—vegetarian, flexitarian—people will just move from one to the other.”

Key trends in the day-long conference included:

Future protein

While meat consumption has plateaued in the United States, it continues to soar in China. But raising livestock uses a lot of land and water—resources that China can ill afford.

Scientists have been experimenting with growing meat cells in labs for several years, but at very high cost. Future Meat Technologies has developed a way of dramatically cutting the cost of culturing meat cells in a lab—by combining a bioreactor with an artificial liver and kidney. Unlike earlier iterations of lab-grown meat, this version includes the all-important streaks of fat, the bits that sizzle on the grill with an aroma that can trigger the mouth-watering reflex in even long-time vegetarians, said Yaakov Nahmias, founder of the Jerusalem-based startup.

Future Meat Technologies received early funding from Bits x Bites and, in May, attracted $2.2. million in seed investment, co-led by Tyson Ventures, part of Tyson Foods, a Fortune 100 company.

Israeli startup InnovoPro has developed chickpeas as a protein-rich ingredient for food products and is targeting consumers who are looking for cleaner food labels, said CEO Taly Nechushtan. Chickpeas also act as an emulsifier and can take the place of modified starches and other additives. InnovoPro has developed a range of chickpea puddings, yogurts, egg-free mayonnaise, protein bars and savory snacks, and is looking for food companies as partners.

San Diego-based Triton is promoting green algae—Chlamydomonas reinhardtii—in powdered form as a protein-rich food ingredient. In May this year, Triton invited celebrity chef Brian Malarkey to cook a five-course meal for 120 diners, using the algae. The menu included nori algae butter, algae bucatini, algae pesto, algae lime cookies and a Chlamy Cocktail.

Whether any of these ingredients will take off in China depends on whether they can be adapted to Chinese cooking styles. “At the end of the day, food is more about culture than anything else,” said Kshuk.

Fresh is best

Chinese consumers buy more than 20% of their food online, the highest proportion in the world, said Thierry Garnier, President and CEO of Carrefour China. In Europe and the United States, the food e-commerce market is in the low single digits.

Carrefour recently openedits first Le Marche “smart store” in Shanghai, with digital innovations supported by Chinese tech giant Tencent, parent company of WeChat. Tencent also has a stake in Carrefour China. Shoppers have the option of scanning and paying online or at self check-outs. Tencent rival Alibaba has a chain of similar grocery stores in China under the Hema banner.

“You don’t go to a store only to buy, you have to go to a place and enjoy it,” said Garnier. “In France, I take pleasure in choosing cheese—maybe for you, it is crabs, or fish. Fresh is still a pleasure.” Stores are also places for shoppers to discover new products that they might not be actively looking for.

Freshness is also a focus for e-commerce startup 321Cooking, which delivers fresh, pre-packaged, ready-to-cook ingredients to Chinese homes.

“We take away the complicated and boring parts. We buy all the raw ingredients and wash them, and consumers keep the most enjoyable part—the cooking,” said Xiayue Pan, cofounder of 321Cooking. The brand’s customers are 75% female, aged between 25 and 35 years, and live in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, she said.

Consumers want fresh ingredients, which means a shorter shelf life, Pan said. At the same time, they don’t want additives or preservatives. “It’s a double-edged sword,” she said. “An opportunity and a challenge as well.”

Food as medicine

Some food companies are tackling issues such as rising obesity and diabetes rates in Asia. Singaporean startup Alchemy Foodtech has created a technology that lowers the glycemic index of white rice to the level of brown rice, and has just received venture funding from Bits x Bites.

Selling a healthy option in China will require more than scientific facts and figures, said Loris Li, associate director of food and drink at Mintel. “You can’t just give stats. You need to provide an interesting story. Numbers are not enough to convince Chinese consumers, especially the elderly ones,” she said.

Finally, several panelists were asked to picture an ideal intersection of food, technology and health in the year 2050.

“In 2050, I’ll be in my 70s,” said Ryan Chaw, who leads technology acquisition for the APAC R&D team at Coca Cola. “I’ll be at home, wearing a belt that can measure my gut health. I’ll walk into my indoor vegetable garden, blend my own shake and consume it.”

Source: J. Walter Thompson Intelligence

Why ‘BPA Free’ May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe

Maya Wei-hass wrote . . . . . . . . .

The study started as an accident. Geneticist Patricia Hunt of Washington State University and her team were investigating the reproductive effects of BPA in mice. Housed in BPA-free plastic cages, the test group got doses of BPA through a dropper; the control group didn’t.

Everything seemed rosy—until it wasn’t.

“Our control data just started to get really wonky,” Hunt says. The differences between it and the test group vanished, and many control mice started showing genetic issues. Though initially confused, the team discovered that some of the plastic caging was damaged and was leaching bisphenol S, or BPS—an alternative to the now infamous plastic component BPA.

It was like déjà vu, Hunt says. Twenty years ago, she’d had the same issue with BPA in polycarbonate mouse cages. Now her study of the effects of several BPA alternatives, prompted by the latest accidental findings, suggests that these replacements impact reproduction in mice in much the same way.

Of course, it’s hard to draw conclusions between the effects in these tiny furry critters and those in our comparatively massive fleshy forms, but the latest work adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests all is not safe in the world of BPA-free plastics. What’s more, the study underlines a broader issue in commercial compound development: When chemicals are removed from the market, they’re often replaced by others that not only look similar—but act similarly in our bodies.

“We have to play catch up as disease detectives,” says Leonardo Trasande, director of the division of environmental pediatrics at NYU Langone Health, who was not involved in the research. But this detective work is a losing proposition, he says likening it to a game of “chemical whack-a-mole.”

What Is BPA?

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a common building block in resins and some types of plastic. It’s what’s known as an endocrine disrupting compound. In the body, these chemicals can act like hormones or disrupt normal hormone functions.

“What’s kind of disturbing about this is hormones regulate almost everything in our bodies,” says Johanna Rochester, senior scientist with the nonprofit The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, who was not involved in the work. In the case of BPA, concerns surround its estrogen-mimicking effects.

In the past couple decades, research on BPA has exploded. A slew of studies document negative reproductive, developmental, and metabolic effects in a menagerie of wildlife— rhesus monkeys, zebrafish, nematodes, and mice. Even human studies have linked BPA to a range of health issues.

In the 1950s, BPA was used in the first epoxy resins. Soon after, Bayer and General Electric discovered the molecules had a nifty trick: They could link together with a small connector compound to form a shiny, hard plastic known as polycarbonate.

Soon, BPA was everywhere: reusable water bottles, plastic plates, the liners in canned foods, sippy cups, grocery receipts, and even some dental sealants. But as people drank from their water bottles and ate their microwaved dinners, they were unknowingly dosing themselves with small amounts of BPA that leached from the plastic containers into their food and drink.

The compound has since become so ubiquitous that of the 2,517 people tested in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 93 percent had detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

Mounting public pressure pushed companies to move away from BPA, leading to an influx of products touting their “BPA-free” status. But the FDA only officially bans the compound from use in baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging. According to the FDA website: “Studies pursued by FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) have shown no effects of BPA from low-dose exposure.”

Different, But Not Necessarily Better

Since BPA-free became trendy, manufacturers went on a plastic-developing spree, creating more variations than scientists can keep track of: BPS, BPF, BPAF, BPZ, BPP, BHPF, and the list goes on. They all have “BP” in their names because they share the same basic chemical structure of a bisphenol. Each new version has only slight differences, as if swapping a blue Lego block for a red one.

The latest study adds to the mounting research that suggests consumers aren’t off the hook buying BPA-free plastic. The results show that common BPA replacements—BPS, BPF, BPAF and diphenyl sulphone—can interfere with what Hunt characterizes as “the very, very, very, very earliest part of making eggs and sperm.”

Mice—and humans—normally get one copy of genetic material from each parent and then splice together bits of each to form the chromosome they pass on to the next generation. Hunt and her team found that BPA and its alternatives disrupt this process in a way that could eventually cause a decrease in sperm counts in males and a reduction in egg quality in females. What’s more, the changes can be passed down to subsequent generations.

Though gaps remain in understanding how the range of BPA alternatives affect humans, researchers are concerned. “They look a lot like BPA,” says Hunt. “It stands to reason that they’re going to behave a lot like BPA.” Rochester agrees, saying that such a conclusion “is not a huge leap.” And this is hardly the only study suggesting negative effects from BPA alternatives. Dozens have been published in the past year alone.

“It speaks to the reality we need to regulate chemicals, not one by one, but in a class—in a way that allows us to tackle compounds that function with similar structure,” Trasande says.

How Did This Happen?

Scientists have a term to describe this analogous chemical swapping: regrettable substitutes. And the issue isn’t limited to BPA. Many groups of compounds are suffering from the problem of too-similar replacements, including flame retardants (used in furniture, vehicles, and electronics), phthalates (used in cosmetics, personal care products, adhesives, plastics, and pharmaceuticals), and polyfluoroalkyl substances (used in nonstick products like teflon).

There are startlingly few regulations to keep this from happening. And many of the tests to identify endocrine disruptors such as BPA are outdated. “The old standard toxicology testing methods were devised decades ago,” says Hunt. “And they’re pretty crude techniques.”

While many government studies only show effects of BPA at high doses, numerous independent academic researchers have demonstrated BPA’s low-dose negative effects as well. To reconcile these differences, three government bodies—the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—recently teamed up with a group of independent researchers to undertake a massive multimillion-dollar study called CLARITY-BPA (Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity). Each team looked at different effects, but all used the same basic experimental framework. Ultimately this type of work could lead to better toxicology testing, says Hunt.

The final results of their tests will be released Thursday, after this story is published. But scientists are already perturbed by the draft report released last February that details the regulatory side of the results. Overall, the results of the draft study again conclude BPA has “minimal effects” at low doses. The FDA did not reply to a request for comment.

“It’s a great idea; it was really what we need to improve toxicology testing,” says Hunt, but she adds, “there’s a lot of problems with the CLARITY.” From issues with controls to selection of study animals to contamination of the system—much like what inspired Hunt’s latest study—outside scientists argue that many factors futzed with the final result.

The Bright Side

There’s a small glimmer of hope at the end of the plastic rainbow. “The good news is, if you can eliminate all of these things from the face of the world, we could go back,” says Hunt. The latest study found that if the researchers stopped dosing the mice with BPA alternatives, the males returned to normal in just four generations.

Consumers can also take steps to avoid BPA alternatives entirely, notes Trasande. He suggests steering clear of plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7, which all contain compounds of concern. Don’t put plastics in dishwashers or the microwave, which can damage them and cause them to leach more BPA or its alternatives. Throw away plastic when it looks aged or scratched. And opt for glass or steel containers rather than lined aluminum cans whenever possible.

For regulators, Rochester says there’s no time to waste in making moves away from BPA alternatives. “We don’t really want to wait another 20 years for all these human studies to show that there is a problem,” she says. “We can’t go down that road again.”

Source : National Geographic

Read also at The Conversation:

Study shows BPA substitutes may cause same health issues as the original . . . . .

U.S. FDA Warns of Dangers of Liquid Nitrogen in Food, Drinks

You risk serious injury if you consume or handle food and drink products where liquid nitrogen is added just before consumption, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.

These products — which have names such as “Dragon’s Breath,” “Heaven’s Breath” and “nitro puff” — are available in food courts, kiosks, state or local fairs, and other places where food and drinks are sold.

Examples of such products include liquid nitrogen-infused colorful cereal or cheese puffs that emit a misty or smoke-like vapor, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks prepared with liquid nitrogen that emit a fog.

Liquid nitrogen isn’t toxic, but its extremely low temperature can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or consumed, the FDA said in a news release. Inhaling the vapor released by liquid nitrogen in food or drinks can also cause breathing problems, especially among people with asthma, according to the agency.

“The main issue is that liquid nitrogen must be fully evaporated from food or beverage before it is served,” explained Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“In liquid form, it can cause burns to the mouth, esophagus and upper airway, leading to perforation or rupture of the organs — which could be deadly,” Glatter said. “It may also cause burns of the fingers or hands when it is handled in the liquid state.”

And people with asthma or lung disease who inhale the vapors might experience constriction of their airways, triggering an asthma attack or worsening of their lung disease, he added.

“Beyond this, it may also lead to inflammation in the lungs and aspiration, which can reduce the ability to breathe, as well as trigger infections such as pneumonia,” Glatter said.

In fact, the FDA said it has received reports of severe and life-threatening injuries caused by liquid nitrogen in food and drinks, and also reports of breathing problems.

“With state fairs upon us, parents and teens need to understand the potential risks of foods such as nitro popcorn and nitrogen-infused cereals, which promise excitement and thrill but may end with a trip to the emergency department,” Glatter noted.

People who’ve suffered an injury after handling or consuming food or drinks prepared with liquid nitrogen should consult a health care provider, and also consider reporting their injury to MedWatch, the FDA’s safety reporting program, the agency said.

Source: HealthDay

U.S. Appeals Court Orders EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos, a Pesticide Known to Harm Children

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping a widely used pesticide on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days.

A coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups sued last year after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama-era effort to ban chlorpyrifos, which is widely sprayed on citrus fruit, apples and other crops. The attorneys general for several states joined the case against EPA, including California, New York and Massachusetts.

In a split decision, the court said Thursday that Pruitt, a Republican forced to resign earlier this summer amid ethics scandals, violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful.

“The panel held that there was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in the court’s opinion.

Michael Abboud, spokesman for acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, said the agency was reviewing the decision, but it had been unable to “fully evaluate the pesticide using the best available, transparent science.”

EPA could potentially appeal to the Supreme Court since one member of the three-judge panel dissented from the majority ruling.

Environmental groups and public health advocates celebrated the court’s action as a major success.

“Some things are too sacred to play politics with, and our kids top the list,” said Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The court has made it clear that children’s health must come before powerful polluters. This is a victory for parents everywhere who want to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear it’s harming their brains or poisoning communities.”

The attorneys general of California and New York also claimed victory.

“This is one more example of how then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt skirted the law and endangered the health of our children — in this case, all because he refused to curb pesticide levels found in food,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California said in a statement.

Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical Co. in the 1960s. It remains among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with the chemical giant selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year through its subsidiary Dow AgroSciences.

Gregg Schmidt, a spokesman for Dow, said chlorpyrifos is a critical pest management tool used in countries around the world.

“We will continue to support the growers who need this important product,” Schmidt said.

Chlorpyrifos belongs to a family of organophosphate pesticides that are chemically similar to a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany before World War II.

As a result of its wide use as a pesticide over the past four decades, traces of chlorpyrifos are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of the pesticide.

Under pressure from federal regulators, Dow voluntarily withdrew chlorpyrifos for use as a home insecticide in 2000. EPA also placed “no-spray” buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools, in 2012.

In October 2015, the Obama administration proposed banning the pesticide’s use on food. A risk assessment memo issued by nine EPA scientists concluded: “There is a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.”

Federal law requires EPA to ensure that pesticides used on food in the United States are safe for human consumption — especially children, who are typically far more sensitive to the negative effects of poisons.

Shortly after his appointment by President Donald Trump in 2017, Pruitt announced he was revering the Obama administration effort to ban chlorpyrifos, adopting Dow’s position that the science showing chlorpyrifos is harmful was inconclusive and flawed.

The Associated Press reported in June 2017 that Pruitt announced his agency’s reversal on chlorpyrifos just 20 days after his official schedule showed a meeting with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris. At the time, Liveris headed a White House manufacturing working group, and his company had written a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities.

Following AP’s report, then-EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said that March 9, 2017, meeting on Pruitt’s schedule never happened. Bowman said the two men had instead shared only a “brief introduction in passing” while attending the same industry conference at a Houston hotel and that they never discussed chlorpyrifos.

However, internal EPA emails released earlier this year following a public records lawsuit filed by The Sierra Club suggest the two men shared more than a quick handshake.

Little more than a week after the conference and before Pruitt announced his decision, the EPA chief’s scheduler reached out to Liveris’ executive assistant to schedule a follow-up meeting.

“Hope this email finds you well!” wrote Sydney Hupp, Pruitt’s assistant, on March 20, 2017. “I am reaching out today about setting up a meeting to continue the discussion between Dow Chemical and Administrator Scott Pruitt. My apologies for the delay in getting this email into you — it has been a crazy time over here!”

Subsequent emails show Hupp and Liveris’ office discussing several potential dates that the Dow CEO might come to Pruitt’s office at EPA headquarters, but it is not clear from the documents whether the two men ever linked up.

Liveris announced his retirement from Dow in March of this year.

Pruitt resigned July 6 amid more than a dozen ethics investigations focused on such issues as outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease for a Capitol Hill condo linked to an energy lobbyist.

Bowman, who left EPA in May to work for GOP Sen. Joni Ernest of Iowa, declined to comment on her earlier characterization of the March 2017 interaction between Pruitt and Liveris or what “discussion” the internal email was referring to.

“I don’t work for EPA anymore,” Bowman said.

Current EPA spokesman James Hewitt said, “We stand by our statement from last year.”

Source : Time