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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

6 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

8 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.