Posted by Sherijan Ivan Dela Cruz on Apr 29th 2019

Killer Pollutant on the loose due to Trump’s Inaction

Killer Pollutant on the loose due to Trumps Inaction

Families, beware. A killer not visible to the naked eye causes the early deaths of thousands of people in the United States due to heart and lung failure.

            It penetrates into the deepest parts of the lungs, arresting the cardiac muscles, and causing death akin to anaphylactic shock, albeit not instantaneous. A recent study called this notorious killer “the largest environmental risk factor worldwide,” being responsible for death rates higher than those of alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, or high sodium intake.

            But then again, that’s not the scariest thing about this little monster.

            Its microscopic size is what made fine particulate matter (or fine particles), commonly known as PM 2.5, one of the most lethal particles in the atmosphere. US Environmental Protection Agency links PM 2.5 exposure to a variety of health problems, including early deaths in people with heart or lung disease, non-fatal heart attacks, arrhythmia (or irregular heartbeat), and other respiratory complications such as asthma and weakened lungs.

            To put simply, PM 2.5 is the most dangerous pollutant on the planet. It can literally be everywhere.

And to make things worse, the very government responsible for protecting its people from potential dangers is now pursuing a course that would amplify the effects of PM 2.5 on our health.

A panel of science advisers to the EPA, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, blatantly questioned the established fact that particulate matters and premature death are causally linked with one another. Louis Anthony Cox Jr., the committee chairman, wrote a letter to EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler saying that the agency has not provided "a sufficiently comprehensive, systematic assessment of the available science." The committee clearly disregarded the epidemiological studies from around the world that prove a fatal connection between PM 2.5 exposure and premature death.

Consequently, the committee’s recommendations are early steps toward destabilizing strict standards for particle pollution, ultimately defeating the Clean Air Act’s objective of protecting public health against airborne hazards.

With legal powers expected to weaken amidst the new recommendations from EPA, particle pollution could reach an all-time high in the US. For years, anti-regulatory forces—the Congress included—have been trying to discredit the branch of epidemiological medicine and consider it as pseudoscience. Trump’s administration is clearly following suit—unfortunately.
The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is displaying quite the irony here. It's aggressively, and irresponsibly, challenging what is obviously well established. Evidence of the dangers of fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, dates back to the late 20th century; decades of scientific research all ended up in vain.

            To think that more than 23 million Americans, and a hundred million more around the world, live in areas where air pollution exceeds PM 2.5 standards. If the EPA followed the radical committee’s recommendation to revise air pollution standards that reject the factuality of existing evidence, millions of lives will be put at risk.