Another Federal Agency Deletes Climate Change From Its Website

By Ayana Byrd Aug 25, 2017

The National​ ​Institute​ ​of​ ​Environmental​ ​Health​ ​Sciences (NIEHS) has taken on an unexpected distincton. The division of the National Institute of Health dedicated to studying the environment and its impact on humans has joined the Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency in eliminating many references to climate change on its website.

On Wednesday (August 23), ThinkProgess published an article featuring an interview with Christine Flowers, director of NIEHS’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, explaining why.

Though the phrase "climate change" still appears on the site, it has been removed in a number of places. Per the Chicago Tribune:

A headline that read "Climate Change and Human Health," for example, was altered to "Climate and Human Health." A menu title that read "Climate Change and Children’s Health" in June now appears as "Climate and Children’s Health." Links to a fact sheet on "Climate Change and Human Health" also were removed.

References to global warming’s impact on human health have been reduced as well, reports the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI).

Flowers insists that these edits are not a reflection of the Trump Administration’s disbelief in the consequences of climate change, but a matter of digital housekeeping as NIEHS updates its site. She also said that she feels these deletions are having an unintended positive effect, “[guiding] people to explore the Climate Change and Human Health Literature Portal, a database of studies pertaining to the health implications of climate change published between 2007 and 2014.”

However, there are environmentalists who believe the edits are another act of suppression by the same White House that announced the U.S. would withdraw from the landmark global warming agreement the Paris Accord. David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Chicago Tribune, “The cleansing continues. But they’re not going to be able to erase the science, or the truth, by scrubbing websites."