EPA pick is unclear about toxic lead levels. So are scientists

Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general picked by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, immediately drew blowback during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday for saying that he “hasn’t looked into the scientific research” on precisely how much lead exposure is unsafe for children.

Critics slammed Pruitt’s response as an uninformed and dangerously naive perspective on a critical environmental health issue. But, in fact, Pruitt’s not alone in his uncertainty on this question. There’s an ongoing debate among scientists and regulators about how much lead is too much for kids to have in their bodies.

Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was scheduled to hold a meeting to discuss that very question.

That didn’t stop Democrats from using Pruitt’s quote, out of context, as a talking point:


‘Game Of Thrones’ Prequel Would Be ‘Foolish’ Not To Explore, Says HBO Exec

We’re still years away from the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones”  but HBO is toying with ways to avoid having to say goodbye to Westeros. 

According to Variety, at the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday, HBO original programming president Casey Bloys revealed that while nothing is written in stone in terms of a potential “Thrones” prequel or spinoff, the network is “exploring” its options.

“All I can say is that we’re exploring it. We don’t have any scripts, we’re not even close to saying, ‘Oh, let’s do this,’” Bloys said. “But it’s a big enough property that we would be foolish not to explore it,” he said. “It’s a really rich world. We’d be foolish not to look at it.”

Indeed, there is plenty of material for the network to work with. In addition to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, the Thrones author has also written several prequel novellas, which take place nearly a century before the events of Ice and Fire and follow the adventures of two characters named Dunk and Egg. 

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While nothing is certain, it sounds like HBO plans on taking their time in developing a new “Thrones”-related project. 

“We’ll take some shots at it. I’m not going to do it just to do it. It has to feel very special. I would rather have no sequel and leave it as-is then have something we rushed out,” Bloys told Entertainment Weekly, adding that tackling a prequel seems more likely than a spinoff. 

“A prequel feels like it has less pressure on it [than a spinoff],” Bloys said. “[ Martin’s history of Westeros] gives you areas in which to say to a writer, ‘If you were going to do this, then go flesh it out,’ and we’ll see what comes back. But I don’t feel any pressure that we have to have something.”

Of course, HBO will have plenty of time to figure things out should they decide to move forward with a prequel – Season 7 of “Thrones” isn’t scheduled to air until summer 2017. 

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