As scientists begin to find their political voices, three former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency insiders on Wednesday said the Trump administration should not sacrifice environmental quality and the health of the American people “for a coterie of special-interest stakeholders.”
Their opinion piece was published on March 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Unfortunately, sowing doubt about scientific evidence has become a widely used strategy for delaying or blocking actions that are purported to potentially affect the bottom lines for particular industries,” the article stated. “We need to maintain the capacity to conduct cutting-edge research and to grapple with the application of the results in formulating evidence-based policies.”
The more than 2,300-word article is authored by Jonathan Samet, previous chair of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and holder of the Flora L. Thornton Chair in Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC; Thomas Burke, former EPA science adviser and former head of the EPA’s Office of Research and Development under the Obama administration; and Bernard Goldstein, EPA assistant administrator for research and development during the Reagan administration. Continue reading “Nation’s top environmental scientists say the EPA should not be weakened”
The USC Environmental Health Centers (SCEHSC, SC-CEHC, MADRES) will be hosting a spring convening on April 17, 2017. The event will focus on the issues of Parks, Pollution and Obesity with a closer look at the interface between community needs for green space and physical activity, the potential exposure to pollution in these spaces, and the role that pollution plays in risk for obesity and diabetes.
Organizations that are co-hosting the convening include:
Obesity is a public health problem of epidemic proportions in California. In Los Angeles County the prevalence of obesity is strongly associated with economic hardship, that is, working poor and communities of color are the most heavily burdened by obesity. It is these same communities that face the highest cumulative burden of environmental pollution and the least park space per capita. Increasingly, scientific evidence suggests that exposure to “obesogens” or chemicals that disrupt normal metabolism and promote obesity. Urban air pollution as well as toxic metals have been linked to development of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
“Answering the questions posed for this convening are critical to the well-being of our children’s grandchildren. Please join this multidisciplinary dialog to begin to develop innovative approaches to this wicked problem,” said Frank Gilliland, director of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center (SCEHSC).
In January, Carla Truax left the Community Engagement Team at USC to pursue other career goals. Here, the staff and faculty at USC Environmental Health Centers pause to reflect on Carla’s time at USC and her contributions.
In 2005, Carla Truax joined the Community Engagement Team (of the Southern CA Environmental Health Sciences Center) after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Hamline University in Minnesota. In her first few years at USC, Carla worked on advancing collaborations including the nationwide HOPE (Health Observances & Public Education) partnership with universities around the country, and the CARE (Community Action for a Renewed Environment) partnership led by Pacoima Beautiful to reduce diesel pollution. Continue reading “Recognizing Carla Truax’s 11 years of commitment to the Community Engagement Team”
Scientists tracked children’s health and respective levels of residential air pollution for about 3½ years before associating chronic unhealthy air exposure to a breakdown in beta cells, special pancreatic cells that secrete insulin and maintain the appropriate sugar level in the bloodstream.
By the time the children turned 18, their insulin-creating pancreatic cells were 13 percent less efficient than normal, making these individuals more prone to eventually developing Type 2 diabetes, researchers said.
Tiny air pollution particles — the type that mainly comes from power plants and automobiles — may greatly increase the chance of dementia, including dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, according to USC-led research.
Scientists and engineers found that older women who live in places with fine particulate matter exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard are 81 percent more at risk for global cognitive decline and 92 percent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
If their findings hold up in the general population, air pollution could be responsible for about 21 percent of dementia cases, according to the study.