public health

The World’s Looming Water Crisis

Climate Change Worsens Chronic Water Shortages for One-Quarter of Earth’s Population

The World Resources Institute recently released a disturbing report chronicling increased, dire water shortages around the globe that threaten millions of the earth’s inhabitants.  Climate change is a major contributing factor.  Public health crises, social unrest and global political conflicts are the inevitable consequences if the problem is not addressed successfully–and soon. “17 Countries, Home …

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Get Ready for Phase 2 of the Deregulation Wars

Air quality standards are next on the chopping block.

The first phase of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks has been directed against Obama’s climate change regulations.  Those deregulatory actions will be finalized soon.  What happens next will be in the hands of the courts. But the Trump EPA is now beginning a new phase in its attack on environmental regulation.  Having tried to eliminate climate rregulation, …

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Pruitt’s Utterly Opaque “Transparency” Proposal

Ironically, the proposal calling for greater transparency provides little clue into the agency’s thinking.

EPA recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” The proposal would prohibit the agency from considering studies of health risks unless enough data is made publicly available to allow EPA or industry to validate the results. That sounds fine, but these studies often involve either confidential health records or …

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Actual True Story: Trump Admin. Proposes Bold New Regulation

Yes, it’s hard to believe. But it actually did happen.

On Thursday, the FDA made a stunning announcement about a new regulation for cigarettes.   Given that this is the Trump Administration, you might have thought they were going to require school lunch programs to hand out cigarettes or something. But no. FDA is proposing — or more accurately, is proposing to issue a proposal — …

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The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is bad for public health, bad for the environment. What can be done?

[There was a technical problem with the version of this posted earlier.] Obesity is an issue that gets sporadic media attention. But it’s a serious problem, and it’s getting worse. An ever-increasing proportion of the population suffers from obesity. If present trends continue, over half the U.S. population will be obese in another twenty years …

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Scott Gottlieb and the FDA

The FDA nominee compares favorably with some of Trump’s choices. But there are still problems.

There was a time when it might not have seemed particularly noteworthy that a presidential nominee was competent and sane. But we do not live in those times. So it is actually worth taking notice of the fact that Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s nominee to head FDA, is competent and sane. And unlike some other Trump …

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The Trump Administration’s False Stories About the Environmental Protection Agency Are Meant to Take the Agency Down

Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt Distort the Facts About EPA’s Mission, History, and Success

The Trump Administration has made clear its plans to systematically dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.  Destroying the EPA will be a key element of the administration’s fight, in the words of White House policy advisor Steve Bannon, to achieve the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”  [Update 8/22/17: Bannon is out, but that doesn’t change the Administration’s …

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Willful Ignorance

As with climate science, Trump is in denial about public health issues.

Anti-vaxxers are a lot like the climate denial crowd, but with two differences. First, there hasn’t been any corporate money fomenting skepticism about vaccines, unlike climate denial. Second, anti-vaxxers are sprinkled across the ideological spectrum. Still, the similarities between these two forms of anti-scientism are greater. One big similarity: both anti-science views have the support …

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157 Days. . . And Still, Congress Has Not Acted

The President requested emergency funding to fight Zika on Feb. 22. Now the virus is starting to spread.

This just in from the Washington Post: “Florida officials on Friday announced the first local spread of Zika virus through infected mosquitoes in the continental United States. “Gov. Rick Scott made the announcement during a press conference Friday after a health department investigation into four suspected cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.” On Wednesday, the FDA …

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Is Protecting Public Health Now a Partisan Issue?

Congress’s failure to deal with the Zika threat is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Congress seems to be unable to come up with funding for an effort to combat the zika virus.  Instead, congressional leaders told the government to use existing funding, so it has been forced to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from fighting ebola. (You remember that Congress was completely frenzied about the risk of ebola in …

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