As the federal government observes Children’s Health Month in October, a new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) calls on the Trump Administration and Congress to reassess children’s environmental health grants. The CEI report finds that university-based children’s environmental health centers have failed in the mission to produce useful research and instead have misused funds to generate junk science and advance political agendas–at the expense of children’s health. Accordingly, these grants should be eliminated and funds redirected to helpful public health programs.
For more than two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have spent millions of dollars to fund a network of children’s environmental health centers housed at universities around the nation. EPA cut its half of the funding this past July, but the NIEHS continues to fund these programs and has announced plans to expand its funding in this field.
CEI’s report on these centers provides case studies demonstrating how these programs have pushed flawed and politically motivated research and engaged in political advocacy disguised as “education.”
“For more than a decade, the EPA and NIH have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on so-called children’s environmental health centers that churn out agenda-driven research and disguise political activism as ‘education,’” said CEI senior fellow and report author Angela Logomasini. “Their agenda-driven science unfairly demonizes useful products—from pesticides to flame retardants to plastics—that have critically important public health benefits,” explains Logomasini.
In collaboration with environmental activists, these centers advance bans and regulations that undermine public health. For example, unwarranted pesticides bans make it harder to produce food, raising prices and making it harder for people to buy healthy produce. And unwarranted bans on flame retardant chemicals can increase the risk of deadly fires.
“While the EPA made a step in the right direction by cutting its funding to these centers, the Trump administration should go further and eliminate all federal grants to these centers; taxpayers should not have to fund wasteful, agenda-driven science,” said Logomasini. “If the government funds any health-related research, it should focus on finding cures and treatment for cancers, heart diseases, and other serious illnesses that affect both children and adults.”