EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies on May 20 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not regulate or limit a toxic chemical compound linked to infant brain damage in drinking water.

The big picture: The Trump administration has revoked or rolled back 66 environmental regulations, per a New York Times analysis. Eight of the regulation reversals have taken place since late April, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Details: The EPA says that levels of the toxic compound — perchlorate — have already been reduced in the U.S. through drinking water regulations in California, Nevada and Massachusetts, and improved storage for drinking water disinfectants.

  • In 2011, the Obama administration said that perchlorate caused by runoff contaminated drinking water for as many as 16 million Americans, PBS reports.
  • The EPA says its health impact analysis shows that a higher concentration of perchlorate is necessary to cause health problems than concentrations found in 2011.

What they're saying: “Today’s decision is built on science and local success stories and fulfills President Trump’s promise to pare back burdensome ‘one-size-fits-all’ overregulation for the American people,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

  • “State and local water systems are effectively and efficiently managing levels of perchlorate. Our state partners deserve credit for their leadership on protecting public health in their communities, not unnecessary federal intervention," Wheeler said.

The other side: “Today’s decision is illegal, unscientific and unconscionable,” Erik Olson, senior strategic director for health at the advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council, said on Thursday, per the New York Times.

  • “The Environmental Protection Agency is threatening the health of pregnant moms and young children with toxic chemicals in their drinking water at levels that literally can cause loss of I.Q. points."

Go deeper ... NYT: EPA will not limit chemical compound linked to fetal damage

Go deeper

Jul 8, 2020 - Science

Scientists develop one-drop test for water contamination

Northwestern's ROSALIND water testing platform. Photo courtesy of Northwestern University

A new platform uses synthetic biology to quickly identify contaminants in a single drop of water.

Why it matters: Water pollution is a major health risk, especially for poor and minority communities. Technology that can cheaply screen water supplies for contaminants like lead could help anyone easily determine if their water is safe.

Updated 20 mins ago - Science

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina

People walk through floodwaters on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Ocean Isle Beach in southern North Carolina at 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

What's happening: Hurricane conditions were spreading onto the coast of eastern South Carolina and southeastern N.C., the NHC said in an 11 p.m. update. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith told WECT News the eye of the storm triggered "a series of fires at homes" and "a lot of flooding." Fire authorities confirmed they were responding to "multiple structure fires in the area."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 18,224,253 — Total deaths: 692,679 — Total recoveries — 10,865,548Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 4,713,500 — Total deaths: 155,401 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.