Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why did the EPA fire a respected toxicologist?

Date:
May 13, 2008
Source:
PLoS Biology
Summary:
Why did the EPA dismiss a highly respected neurotoxicologist as chair of its external review panel on the fire retardant deca? Pioneering lead researcher Herbert Needleman, M.D., argues that the answer has little to do with science.

In March, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into potential conflicts of interest in scientific panels that advise the Environmental Protection Agency on the human health effects of toxic chemicals. The committee identified eight scientists that served as consultants or members of EPA science advisory panels while getting research support from the chemical industry to study the chemicals under review. Two scientists were actually employed by companies that made or worked with manufacturers of the chemicals under review.

Such conflicts, Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) noted, stand in stark contrast to the agency's dismissal last summer of highly respected public health scientist Deborah Rice, an expert in toxicology, from a panel examining the health impacts of the flame retardant deca. The EPA fired Rice after the chemical industry's trade group, the American Chemistry Council, complained that was could not provide an objective scientific review because she had spoken out about the health hazards posed by deca.

This trend is neither new nor unique, argues legendary lead researcher Herbert Needleman, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist, in a new article published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology. With his groundbreaking research on the cognitive effects of lead on children, Needleman laid the foundation for one of the greatest environmental health successes of modern times--five-fold reduction in the prevalence of lead poisoning in American children.

In "The Case of Deborah Rice: Who is the Environmental Protection Agency Protecting?" Needleman points out that the EPA summarily fired Rice even though it had honored her just a few years before with one of its most prestigious scientific awards for "exceptionally high-quality research into lead's toxicity." Why? Because the American Chemistry Council asked the agency to fire her.

"EPA, without examining or contesting the charge of bias, complied," Needleman write. "Rice was fired. The next formal act of the EPA was to remove all of her comments from the written report completely erase her name from the text of the review. There is now no evidence that she ever participated in the EPA proceedings, or was even in the room." Needleman is confident that Rice, who is "widely admired by her colleagues for her intelligence, integrity and moral compass," will "withstand this insult and continue to contribute to the public welfare."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLoS Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Herbert L. Needleman. The Case of Deborah Rice: Who Is the Environmental Protection Agency Protecting? PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (5): e129 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060129

Cite This Page:

PLoS Biology. "Why did the EPA fire a respected toxicologist?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513054858.htm>.
PLoS Biology. (2008, May 13). Why did the EPA fire a respected toxicologist?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513054858.htm
PLoS Biology. "Why did the EPA fire a respected toxicologist?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513054858.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins