EPA drains all funding from scores of long-term studies on children’s health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just pulled funding for more than a dozen research projects into children’s health, putting them in jeopardy of shutting down. The agency announced that it will not renew grants for the studies, some of which have spanned decades and all of which offer valuable insights into the impacts of pollution on still-developing bodies. Research from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, for example, contributed to New York City’s decision to phase out diesel buses in 2018. And in 2012, the same program found that the commonly used pesticide chlorpyrifos harms the brains of children—research that is now at the center of a lawsuit to ban the chemical. Other at-risk research programs take active roles in educating local communities about risks to the health of their children, such as smog and lead exposure. But these initiatives and the data they collect are now in jeopardy. In some cases, the EPA has been covering more than half the budget for these programs for decades. And for good reason: Such long-term studies are the “holy grail of health care science.” Tracey Woodruff, who runs the children’s center at the University of California, San Francisco, says it best: “It works out perfectly for industry.” 

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