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“How Trump’s ‘Secret Science’ Rule Would Put Patients’ Privacy at Risk”

“The rule change targets scientific studies underpinning pollution standards. Generations of private health data could be linked back to patients, a new study warns.”

“When patients participate in health studies, their medical and genetic details are typically kept anonymous to protect them. A controversial Trump administration plan to limit the scientific studies used in policymaking could put that anonymity in jeopardy, a new study warns.

Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize a proposal that would preclude the use of independent environmental health studies in setting pollution controls, unless the researchers made public the raw data underlying the studies.  

The EPA and its backers, including industries that are affected by pollution standards, contend that such a measure would deliver the strongest science for setting pollution standards. But thousands of scientists, environmentalists and public health advocates maintain that the proposal would profoundly undermine the use of independent science in protecting human health. Seminal environmental health studies often rely on confidential data, and without that research showing harm to human health, scientists and environmentalists say the EPA could push for looser pollution limits.”

Neela Banerjee reports for InsideClimate News January 20, 2020.