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An EPA Summit on Contaminants in Drinking Water Draws Attention for Who It's Missing: Activists, Independent Scientists, and Journalists

The Environmental Protection Agency made a splash on Tuesday for barring journalists from three news outlets from attending, in person, a summit about contaminants in drinking water, the Associated Press reports. The agency then seemed to go back and forth on the issue of letting certain journalists in the room.

But reporters weren't the only folks disappointed that they couldn't be there: Only one activist representing communities affected by high levels of the discussed contaminants was invited, and no independent scientists, Politico reports.

The two-day meeting, scheduled months ago, focused on discussion of two chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl. The substances are widespread in the environment due to their use in industry and consumer products such as food packaging and non-stick cookware, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention factsheets. Studies have found probable links between exposure to the chemicals and high cholesterol, kidney problems, and certain types of cancer.

The EPA has faced criticism for reportedly delaying the publication of a study that shows perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl can harm people even at lower levels than currently allowed by the agency.

A government official who worked on the study said a draft will be released "soon," Politico reports.