WASHINGTON – Environmental Working Group has filed a public records request seeking internal records that could help shed light on the EPA’s decision to jettison funding for a network of research centers that focus on the risks to children of toxic chemicals and industrial pollution.
The decision would end a 20-year collaboration between the EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, an arm of the National Institutes for Health, to support the important research of scientists who work for the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers.
Since 1998, the EPA and the NIEHS have provided equal funding for the centers, which are housed at universities around the country. The research conducted by scientists affiliated with the centers has led to a number of policy changes that have dramatically reduced kids’ exposure to dangerous pollutants and launched public awareness campaigns for parents to help keep their children safe, among other invaluable contributions.
The NIEHS says it does not have the resources to fill the void left by the EPA. According to a report in Nature, many scientists who work at the 13 centers around the country worry they will be forced to shut down decades-long research projects.
The EPA has so far refused to give a public answer for its decision to eliminate funding for the program.
“Research conducted by the Children’s Centers has been absolutely essential for scientists and communities to develop innovative solutions for protecting children’s health from environmental contaminants,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D, senior science advisor for children’s environmental health at EWG. “This latest assault on children’s health is the opposite of what millions of Americans want, which is a safe environment for their kids.”
EWG’s Freedom of Information Act request seeks documents related to the EPA’s decision, including electronic records, audiotapes, videotapes and photographs, as well as letters, emails, voicemail messages and transcripts, notes, and minutes of any meetings and calendar invitations.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.