The Trump administration is working to weaken U.S. environmental regulations in many areas, from water and air pollution to energy development and land conservation. One of its most controversial proposals is known as the secret science rule because it would require scientists to disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, in order for their findings to be considered in shaping regulations.
This proposal would drastically limit what kinds of scientific and medical research the Environmental Protection Agency can draw on as it makes policy. According to press reports, an EPA advisory panel with many members appointed by President Trump has criticized the rule, saying it will do little to increase transparency and may limit what kinds of research get done.
As director of a center on urban health, I study issues including human exposure to toxic substances such as lead and mercury. Confidential patient information is a key resource for my work. If the secret science rule is enacted, I believe that children’s health will suffer as a direct result.