Trump's new EPA adviser actually thinks pollution is good for children


One of Donald Trump's new environmental advisers believes that the air is "too clean" for healthy children. Sadly, a pro-smog position is par for the course for this administration.

Taking a deep breath of clean air is apparently bad for your health, according to one of Donald Trump's newest "environmental" advisers.

Robert Phalen, an air pollution researcher at the University of California, Irvine, is one of 17 new White House appointees to the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board, wants to make sure that the air kids breathe has more pollution and toxins in it. For health.

"Modern air," Phalen said in 2012, "is a little too clean for optimum health."

While Phalen will be advising the EPA about science, he is apparently unaware of statistics about health issues like asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 13 people have asthma, and in 2013, the illness accounted for more than 13.8 million missed school days.

Notably, the rates for black children (13.4 percent) are nearly twice that of white children (7.4 percent), making combating the air pollution that contributes to and exacerbates the illness an issue of racial justice as well as good environmental stewardship.

Phalen's galling views will help him fit right in on the the Scientific Advisory Board. The board is led by Michael Honeycutt, the top toxicologist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who once "co-authored a study published in an air and waste management magazine which asserted that the health benefits associated with having more stringent air quality standards are overblown."

These stances are hardly conducive to proper care and attention to crucial environmental health issues. But under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, all of this is par for the course.

Under Pruitt's leadership, the EPA has supported Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, refusing to give reporters straight answers as to issues of climate change; maliciously attacked reporters for simply doing their job in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston; and gutted environmental regulations put in place under President Barack Obama, going far enough that even Fox News pushed back.

Pruit — part of the Trump administration's unethical Billionaire Air cabal, lavishly spending taxpayer funds on private jet travel, oftentimes for personal vacations — has shown that he cares more about giving plum roles to pro-pollution cronies than the health of millions of Americans.

Thus, a man with the Orwellian idea that pollution is healthy gets to spew that unscientific nonsense from a federal government perch.

Take a deep breath of clean air while you can — because the Trump administration will try to take even that away from you.