Tell Biden: Prove You’re Not Toxic Like Trump! Drop McCabe!

Donald Trump had to withdraw scientist Michael Dourson’s Environmental Protection Agency nomination. A hired-gun for Monsanto, Dow and DuPont, there were even Republican Senators who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for him. 

So, why is Michael McCabe on President-elect Joe Biden’s EPA transition team, when he, like Dourson, helped DuPont avoid responsibility for poisoning America’s water with its Teflon toxins?

TAKE ACTION: Tell Joe Biden: Prove You’re Not Toxic Like Trump! Drop Michael McCabe from Your EPA Transition Team!

W Michael McCabe and a fork with pollution

In 2017, we gave President Trump hell because he took $1 million from Dow Chemical for his inauguration and then worked to continue the use of Teflon toxins (now owned by Chemours, the “performance chemicals” spinoff of Dow-Dupont post-merger) and the toxic pesticides now marketed by Corteva (the agrochemical spinoff) including chlorpyrifos, which damages children's developing brains, and dicamba, which is responsible for pesticide drift causing massive crop losses.

Now Biden looks like he’s going to do the same thing!

He took $55,600 in 2020 campaign contributions from Edward Breen, DuPont’s Executive Chairman, and now has put Michael McCabe on his EPA transition team. McCabe who served as Biden’s communications and projects director between 1987 and 1995 is notorious for helping DuPont avoid responsibility for polluting drinking water with perfluorinated chemicals used in hundreds of products from non-stick cookware to waterproof fabric to stain resistant carpets to firefighting foam.

McCabe could write the book on “corporate capture.” As a former deputy EPA secretary under Clinton, he perfected this big-business strategy where a corporation sends its minions through the “revolving door” of a government agency to invade and capture its regulatory decision-making process. 

As the documentary film, “The Devil We Know,” and the Intercept’s investigate series, “Bad Chemistry,”  recount, Michael McCabe formed and led a DuPont team of legal experts, scientists and former EPA employees that were able to get the agency to issue reassuring public statements about Teflon’s safety.

The cover-up McCabe orchestrated made sure DuPont wouldn’t have to pay for the costs of cleaning up the drinking water it polluted (impacting 200 million Americans)  or the diseases this caused. 

Instead, DuPont got a slap-on-the-wrist fine of $16.5 million, an amount less than a single day’s revenue from its “performance chemicals” division which earned the company $25 billion a year.

To this day, the EPA has still hasn’t regulated DuPont’s Teflon toxins. 

DuPont agreed to phase out the best-known Teflon toxin, PFOA, but has replaced it with other chemicals in the PFAS family, which contains thousands of compounds.

Michael McCabe shouldn't be allowed anywhere near Biden’s transition team! He should be charged with a criminal conspiracy!

It is thanks to McCabe that DuPont is still polluting with PFOA!

This is an outrage!

Especially considering that, between 1948 and 2003, DuPont released nearly 2.5 million pounds of PFOA (also known as C8) from its Washington Works factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia, into the Ohio River Valley―knowing that PFOA was sickening the 3,000 people who worked at its factory and the 70,000 people who drank the PFOA-polluted water in the area!

Since the 1950s, the company had been monitoring the health problems of laboratory animals exposed to PFOA, as well as that of its own workers.

In 1981, two out of seven pregnant workers tracked in an internal monitoring program gave birth to children with disfiguring birth defects, prompting DuPont to remove female employees from the Teflon division.

DuPont even conducted human experiments where they asked volunteers to smoke cigarettes laced with PFOA and then recorded how they became “noticeably ill.”

Peer-reviewed epidemiological studies that were part of a settlement agreement in legal actions brought by the Parkersburg residents against DuPont confirmed the damage it had done. The C8 Science Panel that conducted these studies concluded that DuPont’s PFOA pollution had caused community members’ ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.

When Trump tried to get Michael Dourson into the EPA in 2017, retired Marine master sergeant Jerry Ensminger wrote in an op-ed in the Raleigh News & Observer that it “would be like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”

Esminger’s daughter Janey died at age 9 from leukemia caused by toxic chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. When he learned this, he launched a campaign to help all military families impacted by pollution on the bases where they live and work. His inspiring work is profiled in the documentary film Semper Fi: Always Faithful.  

Ensminger’s op-ed is one reason that North Carolina’s two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, came out against Dourson. 

Another reason is that Dourson’s nomination was announced in 2017, right after North Carolinians learned that DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours, had dumped PFOA, and at least 1 million pounds of a PFAS known as GenX, into the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in their state.

Biden promises to “tackle PFAS pollution by designating PFAS as a hazardous substance, setting enforceable limits for PFAS in the Safe Drinking Water Act, prioritizing substitutes through procurement, and accelerating toxicity studies and research on PFAS.”

Trump made a similar promise. Then, he broke it.  

There’s no reason to believe that Biden will be any different, as long as people like Michael McCabe are on his team.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Joe Biden: Prove You’re Not Toxic Like Trump! Drop Michael McCabe from Your EPA Transition Team!

Sign the Petition


We are concerned with the presence of Michael McCabe in your EPA transition team.

McCabe helped DuPont avoid responsibility for PFAS pollution. In fact, he was the architect of DuPont’s campaign to capture the EPA and control its regulatory decision-making. He used his status as a former deputy secretary under Clinton to do it.

It’s shameful.

If there were justice for the thousands of people who got sick or died because of exposure to PFAS, Michael McCabe would be charged with criminal conspiracy, held responsible for their pain and suffering, and forever barred from having anything to do with the EPA.

We fear that you’re unable to be impartial, because you took $55,600 in campaign contributions from DuPont’s CEO Edward Breen.

You could rectify this by returning contributions from the chemical industry and removing industry actors from your transition team.

Most importantly, you must appoint leaders to the EPA who have no ties to chemical companies or corporate lobbyists, and who are ready to fight pollution-related disease with the urgency this crisis demands.