Two Harvard social scientists, writing an opinion column in a prominent medical journal, have put forward “an extremely conservative estimate” that some 80,000 more Americans could die each decade if proposed changes at the Environmental Protection Agency are implemented. The essay was not a formal peer-reviewed study.
David Cutler, a public-health economist, and Francesca Dominici, a biostatistician, looked at eight EPA policy actions that have been proposed or are in process — including rollbacks of Obama-era clean air, water and chemical rules — and tallied up the possible health impacts.
“A central feature of [Trump’s] agenda is environmental damage: making the air dirtier and exposing people to more toxic chemicals. The beneficiaries, in contrast, will be a relatively few well-connected companies,” they wrote.
The essay appears as a “JAMA Forum” feature of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which allows researchers to offer individual perspectives on health and policy.
The EPA dismissed the essay as rhetoric, not research.
“This is not a scientific article, it’s a political article. The science is clear, under President Trump greenhouse gas emissions are down, Superfund sites are being cleaned up at a higher rate than under President Obama, and the federal government is investing more money to improve water infrastructure than ever before,” the EPA said in a statement.