Texas Scientists Argue Reducing Pollution Might be Harmful to Health

Did you know that if we remove pollution from the air, it may actually have a negative impact on health?

I hadn’t heard that fantastical bit of information either, but that’s what the chief toxicologist of Texas says.

“I haven’t seen the data that says lowering ozone will produce a health benefit. In fact, I’ve seen data that shows it might have a negative health benefit.” Michael Honeycutt, the agency’s chief toxicologist, said in an interview. [...]

Honeycutt has long held that the voluminous scientific record on the health benefits of lowering ozone from its current levels is flawed.

“After an in-depth review of the EPA’s analysis, as well as a thorough study of the relevant scientific literature, the TCEQ has concluded that there will be little to no public health benefit from lowering the current [ozone] standard,” Honeycutt wrote in an article for the TCEQ’s monthly newsletter. He added, “Why regulate something that is not really going to have a benefit?”

If the state is pinning its hopes on rolling back federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions on the idea that reducing pollution may do more harm than good, I don’t think they stand much of a chance.

Then again, Texas falls under the jurisdiction of the deplorable and abhorrent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals so it could be years before this is settled.

As the Texas Tribune points out, the position of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) scientists is at odds with the greater scientific community and reality as we know it. Not that there was much of a mystery there unless you believe breathing in fumes produced by coal-fired power plants is beneficial.