As if denying the effects of global warming wasn't enough, Trump's administration is also going to shutter research efforts that track the effects of various chemicals on children as well as adults. The federal Environment Protection Agency will fold into a single office down from three separate entities, in a move that will additionally shut down a program that tests the effects of chemical exposure, according to The Hill.
The new entity will see the National Center for Environmental Research shut down entirely, and its staff moved to various offices in the rest of the reorganized EPA. The changes are apparently being made to reach EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s goal of "more efficiency" within the agency, but the news is rightfully drawing ire from other politicians, activists, and environmentalists for the ramifications that discontinuing this research will have on public health. Yearly, NCER provides millions of dollars in grants and fellowships to study how chemicals affect our children's' health. It's a change that may put the lives of many in danger, as the research done with this funding, called STAR Grants, has done monumental work, according to a detailed review by the National Academies of Sciences.
"STAR has had numerous successes, such as in research on human health implications of air pollution, on environmental effects on children’s health and well-being, on interactions between climate change and air quality, and on the human health implications of nanoparticles."
The report even gives specific examples of the kind of work that will now, with the changes, lose its federal funding.
"In 2016, a research project partially supported by a STAR grant recognized that infants could be exposed to arsenic through rice cereal, and this recognition led the Food and Drug Administration to propose regulations to protect infant health. Another example is the discovery by the University of Washington Children’s Center that farm worker children had increased exposure to the pesticide ingredient azinphos-methyl which is a neurotoxicant, which informed EPA’s decision to phase out the use of azinphos-methyl."
NCER programs help to advance prevention and treatment of ailments like asthma, leukemia, autism spectrum disorder and so much more.
In order to maintain the quality and focus of our research, senior leaders from the research and development office are proactively taking steps to create management efficiencies within the organization,” an EPA spokesperson said. “These changes will help EPA’s Office of Research and Development be more responsive to agency priorities and funding realities.”
Exactly which priorities could supersede the health of children all over the country, we aren't too sure. Scroll on for a few more takes on the news.