Putin/Pruitt’s EPA Cracking Down on Pesky Science

March 31, 2018



Michelle Bell’s 2004 study linking short-term exposure to air pollution to increased risk of death was a breakthrough. Previous research had shown how the pollutant ozone damages human health, but Bell’s was the first to show persuasively how damaging even a short exposure can be to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

What made Bell’s study possible — and distinguished it from previous research — was the ability to analyze huge amounts of health data from people in 95 urban areas across the country. “We need this data to do the research and we need the research to make the most effective decisions,” she says.

Since publication, the work has been cited more than 1,000 times and, a decade later, informed the Clean Power Plan, a central Obama-era regulation aimed at fighting climate change.

But a study’s like Bell’s could soon disappear from the toolbox of policymakers at the Environmental Protection Agency if Scott Pruitt, the agency’s top official, follows through on a plan to require more public disclosure of data used for research. Pruitt, who made his remarks in an interview with the conservative outlet The Daily Caller last week, says that data used in research that informs EPA policy should be available for the public to review.

“We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt told The Daily Caller. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”

But scientists say that policy would actually end up stymying essential research. Environmental and public health researchers rely on health and medical data from subjects who were promised privacy in exchange for details about their health histories. Those large data sets are often kept confidential and can be viewed only by a select set of researchers on a given project.

“My research deals with real world populations, it’s not looking at data in a lab or looking at cell culture,” says Bell. “We’re effe at birth defect records from actual babies, we’re looking at birth records, we’re looking at Medicare records.”

Surrendering the ability to access that data would mean that the EPA would lose vital information used to craft regulations aimed at protecting human health. The EPA has used health data like Bell’s study to protect Americans from everything from air pollution to the chemicals found in household products.

The details of Pruitt’s proposed policy on undisclosed data — called “secret science” by some Republicans —remain unclear. An EPA spokesperson referred a request for information to TheDaily Caller.

Why does Pruitt’s EPA want to make science more difficult?

Science Daily:

A new study performed in the Netherlands has linked exposure to residential air pollution during fetal life with brain abnormalities that may contribute to impaired cognitive function in school-age children. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, reports that the air pollution levels related to brain alterations were below those considered to be safe.

“We observed brain development effects in relationship to fine particles levels below the current EU limit,” said lead author Mònica Guxens, MD, of Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Spain, a center supported by the “la Caixa” Foundation, and Erasmus University Medical Center, the Netherlands. This finding adds to previous studies that have linked acceptable air pollution levels with other complications including cognitive decline and fetal growth development. “Therefore, we cannot warrant the safety of the current levels of air pollution in our cities,” said Dr. Guxens.

Exposure to fine particles during fetal life was associated with a thinner outer layer of the brain, called the cortex, in several regions. The study showed that these brain abnormalities contribute in part to difficulty with inhibitory control — the ability to regulate self-control over temptations and impulsive behavior — which is related to mental health problems such as addictive behavior and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The study used a population-based cohort in the Netherlands, which enrolled pregnant women and followed the children from fetal life onward. Dr. Guxens and colleagues assessed air pollution levels at home during the fetal life of 783 children. The data were collected by air pollution monitoring campaigns, and included levels of nitrogen dioxide (a prominent air pollutant caused by traffic and cigarette smoking), coarse particles, and fine particles.

Brain imaging performed when the children were between 6 and 10 years old revealed abnormalities in the thickness of the brain cortex of the precuneus and rostral middle frontal region. Despite the relationship between these brain structure alterations and fine particle exposure, the average residential levels of fine particles in the study were well below the current acceptable limit set by the EU — only 0.5 percent of the pregnant women in the study were exposed to levels considered unsafe. The average residential levels of nitrogen dioxide were right at the safe limit.

“Air pollution is so obviously bad for lungs, heart, and other organs that most of us have never considered its effects on the developing brain. But perhaps we should have learned from studies of maternal smoking that inhaling toxins may have lasting effects on cognitive development,” said John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

The fetal brain is particularly vulnerable during pregnancy — it hasn’t yet developed the mechanisms to protect against or remove environmental toxins. The findings of the study suggest that exposure to levels even below those considered safe could cause permanent brain damage.

“Although specific individual clinical implications of these findings cannot be quantified, based on other studies, the observed cognitive delays at early ages could have significant long-term consequences such as increased risk of mental health disorders and low academic achievement, in particular due to the ubiquity of the exposure,” said Dr. Guxens.





28 Responses to “Putin/Pruitt’s EPA Cracking Down on Pesky Science”

  1. nickreality65 Says:

    K-T and assorted clone diagrams of atmospheric power flux balances include a GHG up/down/”back” LWIR energy loop of about 330 W/m^2 which violates three basic laws of thermodynamics: 1) energy created out of thin air, 2) energy moving (i.e. heat) from cold to hot without added work, and 3) 100% efficiency, zero loss, perpetual looping.

    One possible defense of this critique is that USCRN and SURFRAD data actually measure and thereby prove the existence of this up/down/”back” LWIR energy loop. Although in many instances the net 333 W/m^2 of up/down/”back” LWIR power flux loop exceeds by over twice the downwelling solar power flux, a rather obvious violation of conservation of energy.

    And just why is that?

    Per Apogee SI-100 series radiometer Owner’s Manual page 15. “Although the ε (emissivity) of a fully closed plant canopy can be 0.98-0.99, the lower ε of soils and other surfaces can result in substantial errors if ε effects are not accounted for.”

    Emissivity, ε, is the ratio of the actual radiation from a surface and the maximum S-B BB radiation at the surface’s temperature. Consider an example from the K-T diagram: 63 W/m^2 / 396 W/m^2 = 0.16 = ε. In fact, 63 W/m^2 & 289 K & 0.16 together fit just fine in a GB version of the S-B equation. What no longer fits is the 330 W/m^2 GHG loop which vanishes back into the mathematical thin air from whence it came.

    “Their staff is too long. They are digging in the wrong place.”

    “There is no spoon.”


    Up/down/”back” GHG radiation of RGHE theory simply:

    Which also explains why the scientific justification of RGHE is so contentious.


    • Sir Charles Says:

      Can you please remove this fucking troll from your website, Peter?

    • redskylite Says:

      Don’t know where you cut and pasted that from, but if you are really interested in energy balance models you may find the attached of interest.

      Raymond T. Pierrehumbert is the Halley Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. Previously, he was Louis Block Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.

      “How I learned to stop worrying, and taught myself radiative transfer…”


      • nickreality65 Says:

        Have his 2011 paper. Also wrong.

        • redskylite Says:

          Peter and most of the regular followers of this blog accept the consensus of qualified Climate Scientists. If you are qualified and have released a paper that has been pier reviewed and favorably critiqued by someone of standing in the science community (such as Prof David Archer), who is technically very qualified to evaluate such claims, then and only then would you be considered as serious.

          Otherwise here you will be taken for a “troll” and you’d best stick with WUWT where you will be welcomed more warmly.

          Seeing the hockey stick graphs continue to climb as reported by national scientific agencies over the last 100 years or so, I’m not sure how much time you have left peddling your theories.

      • nickreality65 Says:


        Pretentious handwaviium bull crap.

      • nickreality65 Says:

        Pg 73
        “…Hsun = 340 W/m^2…”
        Only in that really stupid and unrealistic K-T model.
        Pg 77
        “…surface temperature (soil or ground) is approximately the same as the surface air temperature.”
        USCRN data show this is absolutely false and in a big way.
        “In simple models it is usually acceptable to equate surface temperature with surface air temperature.”
        This completely ignores USCRN reality!!!
        Pg 78
        “…relative humidity remains constant as the temperature increases.”
        USCRN data show this to be totally incorrect. As temperature rises RH falls – and in large amounts. Check psychrometric properties of moist air.
        The albedo/atmosphere (with no atmosphere, albedo is like moon as is temperature – 390 K on lit side, 190 K on dark.) cools the earth, i.e. reduces the solar heating, by reflecting away 30% of the incoming irradiation. The atmosphere cools (ok, actually reduces the heat load) the earth which is contrary to RGHE theory.
        As the sun rises the soil and air temperatures rise together, as the sun sets and during the night the low density air cools off rapidly to below the soil temp while the high density soil holds the energy it collected during the day and remains warmer & cools slower than the air throughout the night. Yhis process is contrary to RGHE theory. This is a common and plainly evident in USCRN data sets.
        Energy moves, i.e. heat, from surface to ToA per Q = U A dT just like the insulated walls of a house with U the complex combination of conduction/convection/advection/radiation until 32 km where molecules cease and radiation alone takes over.

      • nickreality65 Says:

        “Don’t know where you cut and pasted that from…”

        100% my own work.

    • /https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150225132103.htm
      First direct observation of carbon dioxide’s increasing greenhouse effect at Earth’s surface

      February 25, 2015
      Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
      Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at Earth’s surface for the first time. They measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from Earth’s surface over an 11-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel emissions.

      By measuring the back radiation which is predominantly in the CO2 spectrum of IR radiation as the CO2 level increased by 22ppm over that 11 years, the energy of the back radiation increased by 0.2 Watts/Sq Meter.
      Stands out most clearly when the sun is not shining

  2. redskylite Says:

    I wish that the the president who is running the administration like episodes of “The Apprentice” would hurry up and fire Pruitt. He is a menace to mankind.

    Here is a correction to his latest guideline memo from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    “Dear EPA Staff, We Fixed Your Climate Change Talking Points for You”

    On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a memo to some of its employees with “talking points” regarding climate change science and adaptation. The talking points make some plainly inaccurate claims about climate science and fail to offer employees any guidance about how to talk to communities about climate change adaptation and mitigation. In fact, it does not mention mitigation at all.


  3. redskylite Says:

    This cold hearted administration do not care about health & safety of their citizens, only short term/sighted business profits matter.

    “The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.

    Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to frame the initiative as eliminating a regulatory burden on automakers that will result in more affordable trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles for buyers, according to people familiar with the plan.

    An E.P.A. spokeswoman confirmed that Mr. Pruitt had sent a draft of the 16-page plan to the White House for approval.”

  4. Lionel Smith Says:

    “We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt told The Daily Caller. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”

    Maybe Scott Pruitt could be invited to a remote room, provided with the data and then asked what he makes of it and why by relevant scientists, such as David Archer and Ray Pierrehumbert.

    If Pruitt fails, which he will, he should be told to shut up and get another job.

  5. dumboldguy Says:

    Nick Schroeder, BSME. PE, FOS, POS, GAO (Giant Anal Orifice) has destroyed this piece with his bullshit mathematical maunderings—-it gives one a headache to even read his irrelevant BS, never mind try to untangle it and “debate” with him.

    Those of us who pay attention to ALL the data rather than try to entangle everyone in one small corner of the denier BS world know that the Earth is heating up, and that man is the main cause. It has been said that Nick only spouts his denialism because he is trying to sell a book or a movie—-a true capitalist if so, but he is irrelevant and a waste of time—I will repeat the plea to Peter—-please ban him—he brings NOTHING to the site.

    To get back to the topic of this post that Nick has distracted us from, Pruitt et al are ignoring much research about the harm air pollution does, and the EPA under his guidance would cut regulation and oversight so that all sorts of companies and individuals could spew toxic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, into the environment. Pruitt is more dangerous than Trump—-Trump is just a dumb bull with a bad comb over stumbling around breaking some china—-Pruitt is undoing all the work others have done over the past 50+ years to provide clean air and water—-we must stop him.

  6. dumboldguy Says:

    The Onion has been doing its usual forward looking reporting about Pruitt:

    “WASHINGTON—In an effort to guarantee Americans the freedom to pick whichever mode of rapid ecological decay they desire, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled back federal emissions standards Friday to provide consumers with a broader choice over the type of apocalyptic hellscape Earth will inevitably become.

    “Bleak, post-industrial garbage desert, nightmarish inferno of eternal noxious flames, or glowing green toxic acid swamp—no matter which unsurvivable wasteland you favor, eliminating fuel economy and automotive emissions standards will provide car buyers far more options as to how their imminent dystopias will look,” said EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who said current burdensome auto industry regulations unfairly limit consumer choices between the human race dying in uninhabitable stretches of desert as far as the eye can see, drowning in an unending series of massive tsunamis, or slowly degrading into a genetically corrupt pseudo-race dwelling in cities overrun by half-human mutant predators.

    “While some people want a world where every man, woman, and child on the planet dissolves to the bone within seconds of being exposed to a corrosive atmosphere, others prefer Earth to become a land ruled by leather-clad warlords leading tribes of diseased and malnourished warriors into battle over the last few remaining drops of petroleum.

    “The decision of how to best leave the planet a charred and blackened husk must be made by the American people and not the federal government.” According to sources, a protesting California is expected to stick with stricter standards, thereby restricting consumers to choose between a few basic hellscapes shrouded beneath jet-black clouds of poisonous exhaust.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: