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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), have for more than two decades sponsored a network of centers that study children’s environmental health from before birth, but now the EPA has decided not to renew the support when it runs out in July. According to the Journal Nature, these studies “are rare and valuable, because they can reveal associations between environmental exposures early in life and health problems years later.” The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) does not have sufficient funding on its own to continue the projects, and the centers are worried that the EPA’s withdrawal will force them to shut down their important research that protects kids.
For example, the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York City since 1998 has collected samples of blood, urine and even the air in children’s homes, starting even before birth, to understand the impacts of chemicals and pollutants exposure on kids, and their work led to the City’s 2018 decision to phase out diesel buses.
The center at the University of Illinois is currently studying how chemicals in plastics and other common products for the home might impact reproduction.
Why This Matters: Many believe that EPA is doing the bidding of the chemical industry — by stymieing research that could suggest the need for new or tougher regulations, they can keep them from ever happening. What you don’t know about kids’ health can’t hurt them, right? As Tracey Woodruff, who runs the children’s center at the University of California, San Francisco explained, as the agency weighs costs/harms of a chemical against its benefits, she says, “if EPA doesn’t know, it counts for zero.”
This year has been indelibly shaped by the COVID pandemic — it literally changed everything. What has become clear as a result is that environmental injustice was exacerbated by the pandemic, and if we don’t repair our relationship with the natural world we are going to face more deadly pandemics in the future. For the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer A new Danish study has found that elevated levels of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals linked to cancer, in the bloodstream are linked to severe COVID-19. The study observed 323 patients infected with the virus and found that those with elevated levels of the […]
Why This Matters: Rising seas and rising temperatures are public health issues. More extreme heat worldwide means that people with pre-existing conditions, people who work outdoors, and the elderly all face a higher risk of heat-related death.
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