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The Independent Institute
Center on Health and the Envornoment

Introduction | Projects | Personnel | Further Information

Since the waning years of the twentieth century, politics has increasingly intruded on science. Scientific insights achieved through systematic, objective collection of data and empirical testing have been subjected to political screening. Pioneering research findings that do not conform to political orthodoxy have too often been considered “politically incorrect” and even attacked and censored.

This trend has been particularly apparent in the fields of health and environmental science, where the stakes are very large. Respected scholars have been vilified when their research findings called into question the assumptions of “conventional wisdom” and the agendas of powerful special interests.

In the public arena, alarmist rhetoric over complicated issues has tended to drown out calm, rational discourse. Highly significant findings of great import have been ignored. Politicians and government regulators have made public policy decisions based upon false or fragmentary information. As a result, a host of unscientific, intrusive and counter-productive government policies have become commonplace, including takings of private property, bans of harmless substances, unwarranted liability court awards, byzantine bureaucratic controls, and regulatory measures that endanger economic growth as well as health and the environment.

The Center on Health and the Environment networks with scholars to conduct multi-disciplinary research that combines the highest caliber of environmental and health science with economic and legal analysis. The objective is to identify sound scientific findings that have direct bearing on environmental and health issues, to understand the implications of these findings, to investigate innovative policy options, to present this information in effective forms to educate both professionals and broader audiences, and to redefine and redirect public debate.

The Center integrates the findings of diverse disciplines so that they can be evaluated not only by experts, but also by opinion leaders in the media, business, government and other fields; interested non-professionals who want to understand the issues; and policy makers who need to choose intelligently between conflicting policy options. In other words, the Center’s mission is to foster rational, objective, fact-based discourse about major health and environmental issues.