Under Trump, EPA kills funding for kids' health research centers

"The Trump administration is ending funding for a network of research centers focused on environmental threats to kids, imperiling several long-running studies of pollutants' effects on child development," report @CorbinHiar & @ArielWittenberg for @EENewsUpdates.

The changes at EPA are seen by critics as an attack on science and a green light for polluting industries.

Andrew Wheeler, who lobbied for fossil fuel companies prior to randomly being tapped by Trump as the head of the EPA, said earlier in 2019 that "protecting children's health is a top priority for EPA."

EPA's budget proposal directs $50 million toward "healthy schools" grants that are about removing lead and rats from school sites.

It also ends roughly $220.6 million from four different research programs that work on toxic chemicals in drinking water.

Flint, Michigan still does not have clean water.

From Corbin Hiar and Ariel Wittenberg, reporting for E&E News:

At issue are 13 Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers located at institutions across the country, from UCLA to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Jointly funded by EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services' National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for more than two decades, the children's centers study everything from childhood leukemia to the development of autism spectrum disorders. Grants to those centers have long been considered unique in the public health world for including funding for both research and public outreach.

Children's health advocates have been worried about the loss of EPA support for the centers since at least 2017. That December, the agency's Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee urged then-Administrator Scott Pruitt to continue financially supporting the centers.

They are "a successful and effective model of multidisciplinary, community-oriented investigations," committee Chairwoman Barbara Morrissey wrote in a letter. "The network of collaborating Children's Centers advances the field of children's environmental health more profoundly and significantly than what can be accomplished with individual studies."

Four months later, Pruitt sent a brief reply that made no mention of future funding.

"I acknowledge the strong recommendation to continue financial support of the centers," he wrote. "We will honor our existing funding commitments to the centers."

More recently, a federal lead action plan from EPA and a number of government agencies described the research centers as "important resources."

EPA didn't respond to questions about how industry allies or individual officials might benefit.

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