Conference Panelists Criticize EPA Health Scares

Published July 9, 2015

The June 11 “Human Health and Welfare” panel at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, DC featured Scientific Integrity Institute President James Enstrom; S. Stanley Young, a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Charles Battig, a retired physician and former member of the U.S. Public Health Service. 

Cancer and the Clean Power Plan

Enstrom challenges the notion fine particulate matter causes premature death and justifies the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP).

            In June 2014, EPA proposed sweeping new measures to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, claiming CPP will prevent 6,600 premature deaths and provide up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits.

            Enstrom points to serious doubts about the alleged health benefits of CPP, in part because the evidence used to claim PM2.5 causes premature deaths is based on “secret science.”

            “Attempts to get underlying secret science data have been made for 20 years on these studies and have been unsuccessful,” Enstrom said. 

            Despite a 2013 subpoena to obtain the data made by the U.S. House of Representatives, the American Cancer Society (ACS), which possesses PM2.5 data, refused to release it for independent analysis.

            “One must wonder why ACS is so intimately involved with EPA air pollution regulations when these regulations have no connection to cancer and are so contested,” Enstrom said. 

‘Imaginary’ Health Threats

After examining reams of data, Young concluded the threats of air pollution, PM2.5, and ozone contributing to deaths are “imaginary.”

            Young received “the biggest data sets on the planet” to study the effects of air pollution on human health in California. The dataset included 13 years of data on eight California air basins and daily electronic death certificates equaling more than two million certificates and a total of 37,000 days of exposure.

            Using standard statistical techniques, Young and two other statisticians found there were “no acute or chronic effect on deaths in California.”

            “I call this a fact,” Young said. “We have the biggest data set on the planet for looking at this, and there is no effect.

            “If air pollution was a killer, it would be killing everywhere, and the fact that we’ve established that it’s not killing in California puts every other paper at risk for the claims that they have made,” Young said. 

Harms from the CPP

Discussing CPP, Battig says the mandated 25 percent reductions of ozone and particle-forming pollutants by 2030 will come at a high price.

            “What about the negative public health impacts of more expensive, less available, less reliable electricity? Affordable by whom?” Battig asked. “What about the loss of jobs and income to support good health and nutrition? Wind and solar energy are oxymorons for unreliable energy.”

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.