The EPA disbanded a panel of experts that advised leadership on air pollutants that are especially harmful to human health.
What happened: In October 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dissolved the Particulate Matter Review Panel, a group of 20 scientific experts that advised EPA leadership on particulate matter air pollution, a set of microscopic air pollutants that are especially harmful to human health. EPA officials provided no explanation as to why the review panel was being disbanded.
Why it matters: The voices of scientists need to be heard by agency leadership to ensure that public health policies are grounded in the best available science. By dissolving this scientific review panel, the EPA is cutting out independent science advice from important policies and thereby endangering the health and safety of the American people who depend upon this evidence-based regulation to protect them. The EPA will be reviewing its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter air pollution in 2020, though the process is likely to start in 2019. Disbanding the science review panel now is a poor way to properly assess and carry out the best science-supported standards for the NAAQS review. Particulate matter is consistently associated with lung and heart problems and kills more people in the US than any other form of air pollution. Regulations to curb this pollution can reduce tens of thousands of premature deaths per year.
Learn more about the disbanding of the review panel and how it will cut EPA scientists out of a process for reviewing particulate pollution standards.