Despite report after report linking air pollution to deterioration of the lungs, heart and brain, Professor Robert Phalen believes the air is “too clean” for children.
After all, everybody needs a bit of immune-system-boosting dirt in their lungs.
“Modern air is a little too clean for optimum health,” he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s largest scientific societies, in 2012.
“My most important role in science is causing trouble and controversy,” he added.
Now the director of the air pollution health effects laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, is set to be appointed as a scientific advisor by Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But Phalen isn’t alone. Pollution denial is starting to appear outside the US, in countries where the air is much more toxic.
Denial in the US
Last week, the Washington Post and E&E News published a list of peopleexpected to be appointed as new scientific advisers by the EPA.
Some have operated within groups that have long denied climate change science. And now they are doing the same with air pollution.
For example, Stanley Young is a statistician at climate denial group the Heartland Institute. He wrote in a statistical blog in 2014 that “the science literature… is on the side that increased ozone and PM2.5 are not associated with increased deaths”. (He also states that temperature rise “is good for humans”.)
It’s not just the advisers either. As people donned masks in Delhi last week, Steve Milloy, member of Trump’s EPA transition team and Scare Pollution author was asking the twittersphere: