Administration shows disregard for research, preference for anti-evidence policy

Date: Aug 24 2017

Contact: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913

Public health will not turn away from environmental health evidence

Washington, D.C., August 24, 2017 — In the first half of this week, the Trump administration has shown a disregard for science and evidence when it comes to the environment and safeguarding health.

On Monday, the public learned that the Interior Department halted a scientific study already underway examining health risks for people living near mountaintop-removal coal mining sites. Yesterday, the rhetoric of climate change denial won out on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website, which replaced “climate change” with “climate” across many pages and removed access to a fact sheet on the relationship between climate change and human health. The mission of NIEHS is to discover how the environment affects human health.

Public health and medical professionals don’t have the luxury of turning away from research and evidence when it comes to environmental health. We see the evidence of climate change and poor environmental health every day in emergency rooms, in increasing asthma attacks, in the spread of Zika, in more deaths from heat stroke in the elderly, and as we clean up the aftermath of more extreme and unpredictable weather events each year. 

Whether or not the federal government chooses to communicate or quantify these threats, the connection between environment and human health is undeniable. Climate change is the greatest public health challenge of our generation, and the scientific and health communities need the cooperation of the administration to address and prepare for its impact. Continued research in environmental health is critical as public health professionals work to keep communities safe and healthy.

Now is not the time to silence science.


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