Selected category: Health Science

Toxicologists endorsing Dourson’s nomination are birds of a feather

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[My colleagues Dr. Jennifer McPartland, Lindsay McCormick, Ryan O’Connell, and Dr. Maricel Maffini assisted in the research described in this post.]

[Use this link to see all of our posts on Dourson.]

When the Trump Administration announced its intention to nominate Michael Dourson to head the office at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged with implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA issued a news release titled “Widespread Praise for Dr. Michael Dourson.”  The release cited four toxicologists:  Samuel M. Cohen, Jay I. Goodman, Gio Batta Gori and Kendall B. Wallace.

Far from representing a “widespread” set of endorsers, it turns out these four and Dourson constitute an exceedingly close-knit group.   Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | 1 Response

Dourson’s go-to journal for publishing his industry-funded papers is, well, also industry-funded

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[My colleague Ryan O’Connell assisted in the research described in this post.]

[Use this link to see all of our posts on Dourson.]

In a recent post I noted our initial findings from a review of published papers of Michael Dourson, the Trump Administration’s nominee to head the office at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged with implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  That review has shown that Dourson has been paid by dozens of companies and trade associations for work on dozens of their chemicals – including many of the same chemicals he will be charged with reviewing and regulating should he be confirmed.

Our review is uncovering additional curious features of Dourson’s published papers.  Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Leave a comment

Dr. Herbert Needleman, in memoriam

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

At a time when public health and the environment, independent science and even basic truths are under sustained assault, we need more than ever to recognize scientists who persevered even in the face of concerted attacks by ideological and industry interests to discredit them and divert attention from the implications of their work.

Dr. Herbert Needleman, who passed away this month at the age of 89, was a shining example.   Read More »

Also posted in Flint, Health Policy, lead| Comments are closed

Podcast: You Make Me Sick! The mysteries of the epigenome

Each type of cell in our body expresses our genes differently based on many things including what they are (skin or kidney cells) and how old we are (newborn or 65 years old). These differences are controlled by our epigenome – the set of molecular marks along our DNA that dictate which and when genes turn on and off. Turns out our environment can influence and alter these marks!

For this episode we talked to Dr. Dana Dolinoy of the University of Michigan about her work on the epigenome, including how twin mom mice can birth very different looking newborns—either yellow and obese or brown and normal weight—depending on what they ate during pregnancy.

Want more? Subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play, or check out our SoundCloud to listen via desktop!

Also posted in Emerging Science| Tagged | Comments are closed

EPA toxics nominee has been paid by dozens of companies to work on dozens of chemicals

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[My colleagues Dr. Jennifer McPartland, Lindsay McCormick, Jon Choi and Ryan O’Connell assisted in the research described in this post.]

[Use this link to see all of our posts on Dourson.]

I blogged earlier about EDF’s strong concerns with Michael Dourson’s nomination to head the EPA office charged with implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Among these concerns are his extensive, longstanding financial ties to the chemical industry – an industry that, if he is confirmed, he will be in charge of regulating.  And not only does Dourson have these financial ties to the industry, he has made a career of helping industry play down concerns about chemicals.

A case in point is described in an article published just last week in The Intercept about his work in the early 2000s in West Virginia on behalf of DuPont and its still ongoing woes over water contamination involving the “Teflon” chemical PFOA.

Dourson’s paid work for industry goes back over two decades, starting just after he left EPA in 1994, and it includes work he did for the tobacco industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  As I noted in my last post, his work for the chemical industry included developing a website, “kidschemicalsafety.org” (now defunct, but archived here), that consistently downplayed concerns about chemicals.

To illustrate the extent of his more recent conflicts, we examined the funding sources, where disclosed, for the several dozen papers he authored or co-authored that are listed in PubMed as published between 2005 and 2017.  Some of what we found is reported in this post; there will be more to come on the substance of these papers.   Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

Final TSCA framework rules retreat from best available science

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[This post is adapted from comments I provided for the science policy panel at the June 27, 2017, forum TSCA Reform: One Year Later, co-sponsored by Environmental Law Institute, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., Environmental Defense Fund, and George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.]

I don’t know anyone who opposes EPA using the best science it can and considering all the evidence in making decisions.

The irony here is that core features of the final rules – each the result of changes since their proposal made in response to chemical industry comments – actually move us away from any meaningful realization of what best available science means.

So why is it that this science stuff is so controversial?  It’s long been a battleground across all of what EPA does, and the debate over reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was no exception.  I have no doubt this will continue unabated into implementation of the amendments to TSCA made by last year’s Lautenberg Act.

Science policy issues are among the most “cultish” of any policy issues I have ever dealt with.  Different camps have formed, each with its own belief system, each seeing a right way and a wrong way of doing science.  Each is highly suspicious of the others, including what they mean by each word.

At the risk of appearing cultish myself, I want to briefly discuss my concerns about the final prioritization and risk evaluation rules in relation to the term “best available science.”   Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Comments are closed
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