HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ Proposed Data Rules Would Exclude Vital Science from EPA Decision-Making Process
Proposed Data Rules Would Exclude Vital Science from EPA Decision-Making Process

This week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released proposed rules that would severely limit the types of research studies the EPA could use in its regulatory decision-making process. The proposed rules would require all studies used by the EPA to be reproducible, and make publicly available the raw data collected in the study, as well as the full study methodology. Many in the science community fear these rules are intentionally designed to exclude important peer-reviewed research that links environmental exposures to adverse health outcomes.

“These purported ‘transparency’ rules are, in fact, a thinly-veiled attempt by the EPA to bury the solid science that provides important evidence of a link between exposures to pollution and adverse human health effects. This proposed policy change by the EPA will, therefore, suppress much of our available sound science from consideration in future EPA decision-making processes,” said George Thurston, ScD, chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee.

“If these standards were applied to what scientific studies doctors or hospitals can use to inform medical care, we would ignore decades of valuable peer-reviewed health research, and patients would be harmed. No doctor or medical society would recommend ignoring the best available scientific evidence. Why would the EPA do that to the American public?” asked Mary Rice, MD, pulmonologist and vice chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee.

As highlighted in the below text from the proposed rule, the new policy seems to be focused on data the EPA uses to set standards and data the EPA relies on to develop the cost-benefit analysis of proposed regulations:

"Today EPA is proposing to establish a clear policy for the transparency of the scientific information used for significant regulations: specifically, the dose response data and models that underlie what we are calling ‘pivotal regulatory science. ‘Pivotal regulatory science’ is the studies, models, and analyses that drive the magnitude of the cost-benefit calculation, the level of the standard, or point-of-departure from which a reference value is calculated. In other words, they are critical to the calculation of a final regulator standard or level, or the quantified costs, benefits, risks and other impact on which a final regulation is based."

The ATS will closely review and comment on the proposed rule.

Last Reviewed: April 27, 2018