Cuts to EPA put health of poor communities at risk, experts say

The health of the poorest communities, including the Hispanic, could be affected by cuts of up to 31% in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced by the Trump Administration, a panel of experts from the University said today Of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

The UCLA staff seminar, “Environmentally Unhealthy?”, Looked at the effects on local environmental control policies and on reducing resources to enforce regulations.

Michael Jerrett, a professor and head of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health warned that “since the beginning of the agency there have been no cuts as severe” as those announced by the Government.

“These cuts lead to a patchwork of state and local regulations,” said Jerrett, who noted that cuts in California “are more than 60 percent.”

The expert said that funds for research on environmental health will be reduced, which in turn will limit information to formulate appropriate policies and regulations.

Noting that “environmental programs do not work if there is no requirement for compliance,” Timothy Malloy, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and director of the Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, noted that the lack of economic resources leads to Decrease efforts to enforce rules and laws.

This, according to Malloy, generates a negative circle because as a consequence of the lack of support of the federal Government these do not show sufficient results.
“Sometimes cheap is very expensive,” he concluded.

Also, for Ying-Ying Meng, co-director of the Chronic Disease Program and a researcher at UCLA’s Health Policy Center, the cuts affect California’s actions to limit pollutant emissions which, in turn, affects the health of communities Poorer.

“California pollution control includes 200 different actions to limit pollution,” said Meng.

The researcher insisted that many of those affected in the areas of greatest pollution are low-income communities receiving health services through Medi-Cal, California’s public health insurance.

Therefore, because they can not fully implement programs to reduce pollutant emissions, the health of these communities is affected, which generates higher medical costs for the state.

Analysts also noted that the cuts affect institutional capacity to conduct research, thereby reducing favorable policies for the community.

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