The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been issued a list of words by the Trump administration – including "vulnerable", "foetus" and "transgender" which its employees will not be able to use in any official documents being prepared for next year's budget, The Washington Post reports.
On Thursday, senior policy analysts at the public health agency were presented with the banned words at a 90-minute briefing. Other terms on the list include "diversity", "entitlement", "science-based" and "evidence-based".
According to an anonymous source cited by the Post, alternative phrasings were suggested in some cases. For example, instead of "science-based" or "evidence-based" a CDC official might say: "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes."
This may cause unnecessary problems for researchers. For example, scientists working on how the Zika virus affects developing foetuses may be at a loss when trying to find appropriate or acceptable words under the ban.
The source - a senior CDC analyst - said the reaction in the room when they were made aware of the plans was one of shock and anger. "It was very much, 'Are you serious? Are you kidding?'" he said.
"Our subject matter experts will not lay down quietly," the source said. "This hasn't trickled down to them yet."
Outside of the CDC, public health officials have responded to the developments in strongly worded terms.
"To pretend and insist that transgender people do not exist, and to allow this lie to infect public health research and prevention is irrational and very dangerous," said Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
"The Trump administration is full of dangerous science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC. They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop."