By Eric Roston
It’s Air Quality Awareness Week and the Environmental Protection Agency is taking the opportunity to share some important medical advice.
In a series of tweets and elsewhere online, the agency is drawing attention to the impact of air pollution on health by citing scientific studies and other material.
But critics were quick to point out that some of the very studies being highlighted might not be allowed under proposed guidelines to restrict studies used in policy making.
On April 24, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed the “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule that would break with decades of federal practice by limiting the science available to regulators. Pruitt said the proposal was designed to enhance transparency in rule-making, but critics say it could preclude the use of studies that rely on data that has been anonymized, with information that could identify the participants removed.
“The administrator is absolutely right to want to make sure the basis for federal policy is strong and relies on research that is reproducible,” said Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor of economics at the University of Chicago. “Where I find it difficult to follow the logic is assigning zero weight to research that has been peer-reviewed and complies with the disclosure regulations of federal agencies that have collected the data.”
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