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Consequences of Trump's 'Egregious' War on Science Mount as People and Planet Suffer

"With the president just denying the existence of science," the Trump administration has put right-wing ideology ahead both facts and public health

A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)

With the Trump administration regularly putting its right-wing ideology ahead of scientific data and the common good, scientists are taking stock of the tangible damage President Donald Trump has done to the environment and public health as a direct result of the War on Science, two years into his term.

Public health organizations and former government officials told the Guardian Wednesday about ways in which hostility toward science within numerous federal agencies have led to funding cuts for vital programs, dangerous regulatory rollbacks, and a severe lack of transparency on scientific facts from the government.

Former surgeon general Richard Carmona, who worked under the George W. Bush administration, characterized Trump's attack on facts and evidence as "egregious" and told the Guardian it comes "from the very top with the president just denying the existence of science, manipulating the system on behalf of special interests."

"The idea of there being political appointees who try to impose their political agenda in a way that is contrary to scientific evidence is not a new thing—but it has reached an entirely new level in the Trump administration." —Conservation ColoradoThe administration dismissed studies showing that healthier school lunch standards introduced by the Obama administration were effective in schools and could prevent nearly two million childhood obesity cases over the next decade, and instead rolled back the new standards in December.

Trump has also cut grants for comprehensive sex education programs, instead promoting abstinence-only education—which did nothing to reduce teen pregnancy rates under the Bush administration, according to a government report.

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Sex education programs have been found to reduce teen pregnancy, increase contraceptive use, and reduce sexually transmitted infection rates, according to Planned Parenthood, after having been "rigorously tested by experts and vetted and analyzed.”

"The administration is really not using science. The administration is really using ideology, and those are very different," Sara Flowers, vice president of education for the organization, told the Guardian.

Scientists also pointed to the rollback of a ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2017, which caused nearly 50 farm workers to become ill due to exposure shortly thereafter. The EPA is currently appealing a judge's order to reinstate the ban.

The newspaper's report comes days after the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published its own list of the Trump administration and Republican Party's worst attacks on science over the past year.

The Bulletin highlighted Trump's refusal to accept data on Hurricane Maria's death toll in Puerto Rico, insisting that reports of at least 3,000 deaths due to the storm were "done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible"; the administration's opposition to global breastfeeding guidance and its ominous threats to several countries unless they also opposed the UN resolution; and the Health and Human Services's department erasure of transgender and intersex people.   

The group concluded that 2018 was "a banner year in the war on science."

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