Air pollutants, as very well-explained in this link (click here) by National Geographic, are barely visible, come from different chemical origins (i.e. biological and non-biological) and sources (e.g gas-combustion, indoor daily activities, industries, disturbance of vegetation, etc), and pose numerous human health hazards. Among the consequences of exposure to different amounts (and lengths of exposure) of air pollutants include increased risk of chronic respiratory (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive respiratory disease, respiratory allergies), cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes) (see more information here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749107002849).
Nevertheless, as recently reported by the New York Times (see the tweet below), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be disbanding an advisory committee composed of 20-experts in environmental health and exposure science. In place of this expert panel, the EPA seeks to create a 7-member panel: only one expert in respiratory disease, but no researcher with expertise in environmental health or exposure science.
The EPA is dissolving a scientific review panel as the agency seeks to revise standards on ozone, particulate matters and other toxic chemicals in the atmosphere https://t.co/PI6Mna3Xmz— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 12, 2018
The scientific effort to address the numerous potential health effects of air pollution is enormous, and it seems difficult to believe that a 7-member panel lacking the expertise, contrary to the current 20-member expert panel, would deliver public health policy following a meticulous process. To the current committee, it can take more than 12 months to provide a scientifically-sound review of the current knowledge of air pollution. How long would it take a 7-member panel, which lack expertise in individual pollutants? Will this smaller panel address according to the workload with comparable diligency as the current 20-expert panel? In my opinion, it is difficult to believe that this will be the case.
I agree with Dr. Gretchen Goldman (see the tweet below): there seems to be a pattern to limit the scientific contribution to air pollution standards in the EPA.
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler just announced that he'll be nixing the particulate matter review panel. This is bad.— Dr Gretchen Goldman (@GretchenTG) October 10, 2018
There is still many unanswered questions with regards to the physiological events that participate in human disease as result of exposure to different pollutants and lengths of exposures. It is worrisome that a smaller, less-expert panel, will be able to translate new knowledge in the fields of environmentl health, exposure science, and air pollution into public policy unless it is fast-tracked. Public policy that are fast-tracked very often fail to address its purpose.