Trump’s Environmental Policies Caused At Least 22,000 Excess Deaths, Report Says
An eye-opening new report assessing the health and environment impacts of Donald Trump’s presidency has found his administration pushed policies that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.
The report was co-authored by 33 scientists who based their estimations about mortality rates on comparisons with previous US norms and those in other countries.
Through undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the health and environment impacts, the scientists estimated that rollbacks of environmental and workplace protections led to 22,000 excess deaths in 2019 alone.
Published in British medical journal The Lancet, the study accuses the Trump administration of deliberately harnessing racism and class animosity to push policies that ultimately led to the death of US residents.
Scientists referred to Trump’s decision to stop enforcing the Clean Air Act, which aimed to regulate carbon emissions, his reversal of Barack Obama’s rule on regulating emissions, and his lack of control over fine articulate matter air pollution as reasons for why concentrations of pollution have increased, after having been on a steady decline for decades.
Fine particulate pollution of the kind that has been increasing is closely linked to diseases such as childhood asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes among adults.
Discussing the findings, per The Straits Times, co-author, pediatrician and epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, explained, ‘We see trend lines for deaths from environmental and occupational exposure start going up in 2017, reversing 50 years of decline. It is hard to walk away from cause and effect.’
Pre-existing factors, such as a declining American life expectancy rate, were acknowledged in the article, though the authors argued that Trump specifically exploited low- and middle-income White Americans to drive racism and xenophobia, and in turn propel his political success.
The report found that Trump supporters were among the worst affected by his policies, with the 22,000 additional deaths occurring largely in states that voted for the Republican.
The increase in airborne particulate matter was identified as the primary cause of the excess deaths, though the authors proposed that Trump’s refusal to accept climate change as fact would be a defining factor of his environmental impact.
Throughout his time in office, Trump rolled back a total of 84 vital regulations, including those targeting toxins in water and the way scientific research is used by the federal government, the researchers reported.
They also blamed the former president for underrepresenting the seriousness of coronavirus, which has more heavily impacted Black, Latino and Indigenous people, by dismissing the advice of public health agencies and politicising sensible advice such as wearing a mask.
The newly-published report can trace its beginnings to 2017, when The Lancet formed a commission of experts to track the public health effects of the Trump administration.
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