News Brief

Proposed Rule Forces EPA to Ignore Many Health Studies

“Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” is a draft rule requiring disclosure of personal health information.

A proposed rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would limit which scientific studies can be used to make regulatory decisions, according to an analysis by Lisa Friedman of The New York Times. The Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Proposed Rule calls for full transparency of underlying datasets, including the private health history of individual study participants. (Identifying information would be redacted before being viewable by the public.) If implemented, the rule would limit consideration of the types of studies typically used by EPA to determine how to protect human health.

According to the proposed new draft obtained by The New York Times, the new stipulations would apply to landmark legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, and the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act, along with many others. Most scientific studies currently used to aid in EPA’s rulemaking on this legislation are of the type limited by the proposed ruling.

Friedman’s analysis also states that the proposed transparency rule could apply retroactively or when older rules come up for renewal, but the Trump administration has denied this claim, according to Miranda Green of The Hill.

“This is an approach, favored by the chemical industry, which goes exactly in the wrong direction from where we should be headed,” said Bill Walsh, founder and board president of the Healthy Building Network, a nonprofit chemical watchdog. The better direction, he said, “is taking precautionary action to act on early warnings supported by independent, peer-reviewed studies, such as the many that link hormone-disrupting chemicals to a wide range of diseases such as autoimmune deficiencies, reproductive disorders, certain cancers, and autism.”

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) supports the direction of the draft ruling while also calling for privacy protections, saying in a statement to BuildingGreen, “ACC looks forward to fully reviewing the updated proposal once it is released by EPA. We hope the rule will increase transparency and public confidence in the agency’s regulations while protecting personal privacy, confidential business information, proprietary interests, and intellectual property rights.”

Published December 2, 2019 Permalink

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