Organic for Some

Ivanka Preaches Organic, Silent While Dad OKs Toxic Pesticide

Trump gives her kids organic food at home but has said nothing about her father’s last-minute reprieve of a pesticide shown to affect children’s brain development.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

As a mom, Ivanka Trump feeds her three kids organic food.

“I try as much as possible,” she has been quoted saying.

As a hotel executive, she helped institute Trump Wellness, which includes organic meals, especially for children.

“Having healthy kids’ menus is very important to me,” she has said.

As an entrepreneur, she offers via her website advice from a “health coach” that all parents go as organic as they can.

“Ideally everything you eat would be organic,” health coach Maria Marlowe says on “Choosing organic means you are avoiding or limiting your exposure to these toxic chemicals.”

Ivanka’s coach warns: “The average conventional apple is sprayed with over 45 different chemicals, including six that are known or suspected carcinogens, 16 suspected hormone disruptors, five neurotoxins (a.k.a brain cell killers), and six developmental or reproductive toxins… It is definitely worth the premium price tag.”

But Ivanka Trump is also the president’s daughter and now an official White House adviser. She was silent when the Trump administration gave a last-minute reprieve to a pesticide that was slated for a total ban after more than two dozen scientific studies found it to be a neurotoxin that very likely affects the development of children’s brains, most particularly if the exposure is prenatal.

The pesticide in question is chlorpyrifos. And if the Trumps think it is safe, maybe they should start using it in the still hugely productive organic vegetable garden that Michelle Obama started on the South Lawn at the White House, which Melania Trump has said she plans to continue. The Trumps could then serve the sprayed results to their guests, with double helpings for Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.

Liveris is the head of President Trump’s new American Manufacturing Council. Dow donated $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee. Dow also happens to be the leading producer of chlorpyrifos. And Liveris has long sought to discredit the considerable scientific evidence that even tiny amounts of it can change the very architecture of a child’s developing brain.

Never mind that chlorpyrifos was banned for residential use 17 years ago, after a study by Virginia Rauh of Columbia University found that it had a neurotoxic effect on children in Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx.

Agricultural use continued even as more than two dozen studies by Rauh and others further documented the dangers of chlorpyrifos. Some of Rauh’s more recent work was reported in a 2012 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America titled “Brain Anomalies in Children Exposed Prenatally to a Common Organophosphate Pesticide.”

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!

Daily Digest

Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast.

Cheat Sheet

A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don't).

By clicking “Subscribe,” you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health posted a succinct summary:

“Even low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child, according to a new brain-imaging study… The changes in brain structure are consistent with cognitive deficits found in children exposed to this chemical.”

The summary added: “The study also reports evidence that CPF may eliminate or reverse the male-female differences that are ordinarily present in the brain. Further study is needed to determine the consequences of these changes before and after puberty, the researchers say. Notably, the brain abnormalities appeared to occur at exposure levels below the current EPA threshold for toxicity.”

Rauh’s continuing work and supporting findings by others prompted the EPA to issue a Revised Human Health Risk Assessment on Chlorpyrifos in 2016.

“This assessment shows dietary and drinking water risks for the current uses of chlorpyrifos,” the EPA reported. “Based on current labeled uses, the revised analysis indicates that expected residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops exceed the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). In addition, the majority of estimated drinking water exposure from currently registered uses, including water exposure from non-food uses, continues to exceed safe levels, even taking into account more refined drinking water exposure. This assessment also shows risks to workers who mix, load, and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products.”

The EPA recommended that the pesticide be effectively banned altogether, and the government faced a deadline of March 31, 2017, to act on its own findings.

That was just over a month away on Feb. 24, when a group of businessmen gathered in the Oval Office to watch Trump sign an executive order calling for drastic reductions in government regulations. The group had been recruited by Liveris, who hovered to Trump’s right.

“Andrew, I’d like to thank you for initially getting the group together,” Trump said.

“Thank you, thank you, Mr. President,” Liveris said.

“Really a fantastic job you’ve done,” Trump said.

“Thank you,” Liveris said again.

Trump thereupon signed the order.

”Should I give this pen to Andrew?” Trump asked the group, adding, “Dow Chemical.”

The Oval Office filled with laughter.

“I think maybe, right?” Trump asked.

The group applauded as Trump handed Liveris the pen.

One regulation that was preemptively slashed was the ban on chlorpyrifos recommended by the EPA’s own scientists. Pruitt stepped in on the night of March 29, not two days before the deadline.

“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in a statement. “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making—rather than predetermined results.”

The stuff will continue to be used on food such as is ingested by pregnant women and kids who are not able to eat organic. Also at risk will be anybody who frequents or lives in the immediate vicinity of farms and golf courses.

“Isn’t that a little like saying we’ll take the lead pipes out of the houses of some people, but we’ll leave the lead pipes in the houses of other people?” Rauh asked when interviewed by The Daily Beast two weeks ago.

She added, “We’re in kind of an anti-science era.”

Her work is by all honest accounts the soundest of science. Her only agenda is the truth, and she works with tireless care to determine it. She certainly does not traffic in predetermined results, and to suggest otherwise is an unconscionable insult.

“I’m not an advocate, I’m a scientist,” she said.

For Ivanka Trump to be silent while dedicated scientists are slandered is for her to be party to what her actions as a mom demonstrate that she knows to be a lie.

The very fact that Ivanka Trump feeds her kids organic food and recommends via her website that others do the same despite the added cost acknowledges that the pesticides being presently employed constitute a potential danger for children. Otherwise, why eat organic?

“Organic fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and seeds are those that are grown without the use of toxic pesticides and herbicide,” notes the health coach on “It is definitely worth the premium price tag… If you can get organic and local, you’ve hit the jackpot!”

The coach continues, “Each year the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of the produce with the highest amount—and most toxic pesticides—called the Dirty Dozen plus list.”

The coach says that at a minimum, “My recommendation is to always buy the Dirty Dozen produce organic to limit toxic pesticide exposure,” adding, “This year, the Dirty Dozen plus include: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, kale, and collard greens.”

Much of that is to be found in the 1,100-square-foot garden at the White House that produces 55 varieties of vegetables and various fruits, all of it organic, unless the Trumps now want to demonstrate their faith in Liveris and Dow.

No doubt, Liveris would happily provide the White House with all the chlorpyrifos it might want to spray on the garden. The Trumps would be advised to keep the stuff away from the beehives Michelle Obama installed. Chlorpyrifos has been known to make honeybees belligerent.

Of course, you would not likely see Ivanka Trump serve her kids sprayed produce. Never mind that she has voiced no objections to the continued use of chlorpyrifos on food that other people’s kids will eat. A spokeswoman for Ivanka Trump failed to respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Others who would no doubt decline to serve chlorpyrifos-sprayed stuff from the White House garden include Ivanka’s sister-in-law Vanessa Trump, wife of Donald Jr. and mother of five children, including daughter Kai.

“I make a lot of organic food for Kai,” Vanessa once told a reporter.

Meanwhile, Rauh proceeds with her study of the effects of chlorpyrifos, including alterations in structures of a baby’s developing brain.

“It’s a scary thing,” she said.