Science and Democracy

The partnership between science and democracy has played a huge role in U.S. history. But misinformation and attacks on science have strained that partnership. UCS science and democracy experts keep you informed on the latest developments, from Capitol Hill to local communities.


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Latest Science and Democracy Posts

Photo: Bishnu Sarangi/Pixabay.

Science and Transparency: Harms to the Public Interest from Harassing Public Records Requests

Donald R. Smith, , UCS

In my work as a professor and researcher in the Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, I investigate the basic mechanisms underlying how exposure to toxic metals contribute to cellular effects and disease. My lab explores how exposures to environmental toxins, such as lead, manganese, and arsenic can cause or contribute to the development of diseases in humans. For example, some neurobehavioral and neurodegenerative disorders, such as learning deficits and Parkinsonism have been linked to elevated lead and manganese exposures in children and manganese exposures in adults, respectively. Read more >

Photo: Gavin Emmons
Photo: Donald Smith
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Photo: Peter Merholz/Flickr

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

, Lead science and policy analyst

My experience of being pregnant and having a baby in modern times has meant getting conflicting advice from the different sources I consulted, specifically surrounding nutrition. How is it so difficult to find what the body of evidence says about these simple questions that parents have had since the dawn of time? That’s why I’m very excited that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will be examining scientific questions specific to this population that will inform the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. Read more >

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Photo: USDA/Flickr

Uncharted Territory: The EPA’s Science Advisors Just Called Out Administrator Wheeler

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

Yesterday the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) published a letter to Administrator Andrew Wheeler and acknowledged the group has inadequate expertise to conduct an essential review of the health impacts of particulate matter and ozone. We are now in uncharted territory and the EPA is in a tough position. Here are some key highlights from the letter and their implications. Read more >

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Photo: Eltiempo10/Wikimedia Commons

Three Things EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Doesn’t Understand About Ambient Air Pollution Standards

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

Last week, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler talked to Congress. Members had questions about his recent changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards updates for particulate matter and ozone. Wheeler’s comments last week and earlier make clear that he either doesn’t understand or isn’t being honest about how the EPA is proceeding as it sets health-protective air pollution standards. Here’s the reality around three points that Administrator Wheeler isn’t clear on.

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Photo: Eltiempo10/Wikimedia Commons
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LadyDragonflyCC/Flickr

Fires in Texas Spark Interest in Chemical Safety

Watching the news last week as clouds of thick black smoke billowed over Houston, I worried about my family. They are surrounded by chemical plants. Hearing state and local officials saying there is no air quality issue, and then ordering everyone to “shelter in place” terrified me. In truth, the monitors either weren’t working or were under maintenance, and there didn’t seem to be an evacuation plan. Why not? The law requires one.

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LadyDragonflyCC/Flickr
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