Category Archive: EPA
Judge Overturns EPA Rule Mandating Transparency in Science
A federal judge overturned an Environmental Protection Agency rule that required the agency to give less credence to studies that did not disclose their underlying raw data. The rule, which was finalized during the final weeks of the Trump administration, had been developed over years of debate. It would have ensured that sound data was used in any studies that influence environmental regulations in dose-response regulations. Dose-response regulations are any regulation that controls how much of a certain chemical to which the public can be exposed. The Trump administration approved the rule after agreeing with businesses and homeowners that many EPA rules...Read More
EPA Finalizes Rule Mandating Transparency in Regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency this week finalized a rule making it more difficult for junk science to be the basis of federal regulations. The new rule -- titled “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information” -- took effect on January 6. Under the rule, the EPA must disclose all underlying data used in scientific studies that influence environmental regulations in dose-response regulations, meaning any regulation that controls how much of a certain chemical to which the public can be exposed. The rule also applies retroactively, meaning the data must be made public for regulations already in...Read More
E15 Fuel: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Trump Administration recently decided to allow gasoline stations to sell E15 – which is shorthand for gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol – to be sold year-round. Right now, most gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10, or a 10 percent ethanol blend. As a biofuel, ethanol is praised for its environmental friendliness for reducing the use of fossil fuels, but that praise comes with a few caveats. Older vehicles can’t use E15 without risking corrosion and engine failure. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-commissioned emissions testing also indicates that some vehicles that are able to pass emissions standards while running...Read More
How Dirty Are Your Fruits and Veggies?
Every year since 1995, Environmental Working Group activists publish a “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables which contain the most pesticide residues. The list certainly sounds scary, and it generates a host of alarming headlines. But the good news is it doesn’t take much effort to expose the EWG’s weak science and fearmongering arguments. A peer-reviewed study that looked into the produce EWG continually criticizes as the “dirtiest” found that “all pesticide exposure estimates were well below established chronic reference doses.” A chronic reference dose is the maximum amount of a substance that humans can safely eat over a long period of...Read More
Beat Unnecessary Warnings with…More Warnings?
Last week, a Los Angeles Times article posed the question: “Adding Roundup to Prop. 65 list is a victory, but will Californians heed the warning?” Adding Roundup, the popular weed killer powered by glyphosate, may have been a win for internet activists, but it was by no means a win for science. Government studies evaluating the entire body of well-performed research into glyphosate’s safety have unanimously concluded that the substance is not harmful to human health, and especially not at the levels which people are actually exposed to. After “an exhaustive process,” the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found glyphosate was unlikely to...Read More
The EPA’s Fast Five
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just named the first five substances it will fast-track towards risk evaluation. The substances are on the EPA’s radar due to indications that they may be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. PBTs, as such a group of chemicals are called, don’t break down easily, and thus may be retained in the environment or in the bodies of organisms. An example of one such PBT is mercury. Aquatic microbes convert mercury into a compound called methylmercury which fish ingest but don’t excrete. Generally, fish-eaters like sharks, swordfish, and marlin have higher concentrations of mercury in their bodies because they take up methylmercury from the surrounding water,...Read More
EPA (sort of) Admits: Glyphosate Not Likely Carcinogen
A few days ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report concluding glyphosate is unlikely carcinogenic to humans. The EPA pulled the report not long after, telling Reuters it was “because our assessment is not final”— it had been published “inadvertently.” Reuters noted, however, that the accompanying memo was labeled “Final.” The report is expected to be re-released by the end of 2016, but until then, here’s some info about glyphosate. What is glyphosate? Glyphosate, also known under the brand name Roundup, is an herbicide. Though used by some homeowners waging war on weeds, glyphosate is primarily used in agriculture. In particular, its used...Read More
Government Scientists are Squandering the Public’s Trust
Who do you trust to tell you whether the products you buy are safe? Bloggers like the Food Babe who crow about "yoga mat" chemicals in bread? Or federal environmental and health regulators who review scientific research and determine which products are safe for consumers? According to a recent ORC poll commissioned by the Center for Accountability in Science, respondents overwhelmingly placed the most faith in federal health and environmental regulatory agencies--ahead of environmental advocacy groups, university scientists, and the news media. But government agencies aren't always good arbiters of sound science, either. Last year, "60 Minutes" broke a shocking story: Lumber Liquidators, a discount...Read More
How Much is Too Much Fish for Pregnant Women?
By now, most people know that eating fish during pregnancy is an important way for women to consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy pregnancy. Since some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can counteract the health benefits of omega-3s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s draft guidance on mercury in fish advises pregnant women to choose seafood that’s both low in mercury and high in omega-3s. That’s sensible, science-based advice. Yet, the Environmental Working Group (the same group that wants you to think twice about using sunscreen) is taking issue with the...Read More
What’s causing the spike in asthma rates?
This year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to finalize new regulations tightening air quality standards for major pollutants like ozone. One of the main reasons why the EPA says we need these new rules is to reduce the number of cases of asthma. But are air pollution and asthma linked? Let’s look at the numbers. Here's a chart from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showing that ozone rates have fallen by 33 percent since 1980. Now let's look at asthma rates. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics has collected data on asthma since 1980, though...Read More