While the Trump administration aims to eliminate many regulations and make it more difficult to adopt new ones, Congress is attempting to undermine public health and environmental protections by limiting the use of scientific evidence under the guise of increased transparency, wrote Dr. David Michaels, environmental and occupational health professor at the George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), in a recent op-ed in Science.
“The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act, in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives in March, would prohibit the EPA from using studies for agency decision-making unless raw data, computer codes, and virtually everything used by scientists to conduct the study are provided to the agency and made publicly available online,” wrote Dr. Michaels and co-author Dr. Thomas Burke, director, Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Transparency and reproducibility are long-standing priorities in science, and we welcome good-faith efforts to evaluate scientific evidence for use in public policy. But on these issues, the Act is dishonest—an attempt by politicians to override scientific judgment and dictate narrow standards by which science is deemed valuable for policy. It imposes burdens that will detract from scientists’ ability to do research and to have it influence decision-making, all aimed at bringing the process to a standstill, minimizing the role of science, and limiting regulations.”Environmental Health, GW, Health Policy and Management, Health Promotion and Communication