From Scientific American:

In recent history, the chemical industry has been pro-Republican come election time, but in the current face-off between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican challenger Donald Trump, the sector appears to favour Clinton, while the reverse may be true for the biotech industry. The academic and scientific communities, however, back Clinton overwhelmingly.

‘We are concerned about both candidates,’ states Larry Sloan, the outgoing president and chief executive of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. Although Sloan says Trump would be more likely to revisit the ‘excessive regulations’ that have burdened the chemical industry under the Obama administration, he states that Clinton is more pro-trade and more inclined to revisit big global trade deals. Trump has repeatedly promised to withdraw from some of the US’s biggest global trade agreements.

Sloan also criticises the Republican candidate as ‘not very knowledgeable’ on the recent overhaul of the 40-year-old law Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that regulates chemicals in America. This bipartisan achievement, endorsed by the chemical industry and some environmental organisations, was signed into law by President Obama in June. It gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enhanced authority to require testing of new and existing chemicals.

Sloan and many other observers agree that the EPA desperately needed this new authority, but they say more money and staff are required. Trump’s repeated vow to dismantle, or at the very least severely curtail, the EPA doesn’t bode well for TSCA.

Two former chiefs of the EPA who served in Republican administrations have also spoken out against Trump and endorsed Clinton, saying that he has shown ‘a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws’.

In Clinton’s response to 20 questions about science and technology and coordinated by ScienceDebate.org, Clinton vows: ‘Advancing science and technology will be among my highest priorities as president.’ She goes on to assert that the US is ‘underinvesting in research’.

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