Selected category: Health Policy

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 Science, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Read 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 Science, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

EPA’s announced changes to new chemicals review process put industry demands for ready market access above public health protection

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

Last year’s Lautenberg Act, which overhauled the badly broken Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), made fundamental changes intended to improve EPA’s review of new chemicals prior to their commercialization, by requiring more scrutiny of those chemicals to better ensure they are safe.  Until recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was on track in implementing the new requirements in a health-protective manner.  With the addition of more staff, EPA was also steadily reducing the temporary backlog in new chemical reviews that had developed – a result of the fact that the law’s new requirements took effect immediately upon passage.

In recent months, however, agency staff have faced relentless pressure from the chemical industry – and internally from new industry-friendly senior management – not only to speed up reviews, but to return the program to its pre-Lautenberg practices.  There were growing signs that EPA was considering changes that would circumvent the law’s requirements in the name of increasing program “throughput.”   The agency’s press release today makes clear that this is now happening.   Read More »

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

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 Science, lead| 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 Science, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

EDF has deep concerns over nomination of industry consultant to lead toxics program at EPA

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

We are deeply concerned over the nomination of Michael Dourson to head the toxics office at EPA.  Unfortunately, this nomination fits the clear pattern of the Trump Administration in appointing individuals to positions for which they have significant conflicts of interest.  Dr. Dourson has extensive, longstanding ties to the chemical industry (as well as earlier ties to the tobacco industry).  He also has a history of failing to appropriately address his conflicts of interest.  For example:   Read More »

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