WASHINGTON – The White House removed key language documenting the heightened risks climate change presents to children from a draft EPA proposal to repeal a rule to reduce heat-trapping chemicals leaking into the atmosphere, according to new documents first reported by E&E News.
The chemicals, known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are used in refrigeration and air-conditioning appliances and are a significant contributor to the depletion of the ozone layer. President Obama, as part of his plan to combat global warming, issued a rule aimed at reducing the amount of HFCs released from appliances that use them as coolants.
Among the passages the Trump White House struck from the original rule from the Obama administration.
Certain populations and life stages, including children, the elderly and the poor, are most vulnerable to climate-related health effects.
Impacts to children are expected from heat waves, air pollution, infectious and waterborne illnesses, and mental health effects resulting from extreme weather events. In addition, children are among those especially susceptible to most allergic diseases, as well as health effects associated with heat waves, storms and floods.
“Every day we see more evidence that this administration is actively working against the health and safety of the most vulnerable Americans – our children,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Tragically, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Trump administration is waging a war on children.”
The report on the deleted language from the climate rule comes just days after the head of EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection was placed on administrative leave with no explanation, fueling speculation that the office itself is on the chopping block.
The EPA is also fighting a federal court ruling ordering the agency to ban of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which can cause brain damage in children at even low doses. Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt, in one of his first major decisions as the agency’s administrator, vacated an expected ban of the pesticide just weeks after meeting with the head of Dow Chemical, which manufactures the chemical.
“E&E’s scoop is a chilling reminder that for all of this administration’s anti-science, anti-kids’ health acts we know about, there are others that remain hidden,” Cook said. “We are seeing rollbacks of public health and environmental protection that could take years to restore.”