Science Matters: Highlighting the Impact of EPA Research

By Aaron Ferster

Sunset on the Outer Banks.

What would you do with extra time?

What would you do with an extra five months? I’d want to spend it with my family, preferably hiking some scenic mountain section of the Appalachian Trail, or maybe the Columbia River Gorge. Any trail would do, really. A couple of weeks together on the Outer Banks watching the surf roll in would be nice, too. And a bevy of long, leisurely bike rides would be a must.

Nothing beats the gift of time, and five months worth is a generous one at that.

Five months is the amount of time added to our life spans, according to an EPA-supported study examining the benefits of clean air programs. The foundation of these programs is Agency research such as EPA integrated science assessments, which advances the understanding between air pollution exposure and its effects on human health.

In addition to longer life spans, the positive impact of EPA research can also be seen across the nation in cleaner air and water, healthier communities, and offices, schools, public spaces, and airplanes free from secondhand tobacco smoke.

Examples of such impacts are the focus of our latest newsletter, EPA Science Matters.

In the newsletter story featuring EPA’s landmark health assessment on the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke, President of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Matthew L. Myers remarks, “The impact has been healthier kids, healthier parents, healthier workers, and an awareness that the science is clear: if you smoke around kids and other non-smokers, you threaten and endanger their health.”

Myers is but one of the many people who help tell the story of the impact of EPA research. Featured examples include EPA’s integrated science assessments, “green” infrastructure, community support for achieving cleaner air, enhancing emergency response capabilities in the event of a terrorist attack using anthrax, and several others.

I invite you to check out the newsletter to learn more. Although I’ve been working on the issue myself for the past couple of weeks, I plan to read it again in my spare time. Perhaps between hikes, or while enjoying an afternoon on the Outer Banks.

About the Author: When not planning his next vacation, Aaron Ferster works as the senior science writer-editor in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.