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!

Posted in Emerging Science, Health 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 »

Posted in Health Policy, Health Science, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Comments are closed

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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 »

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

Podcast: You Make Me Sick! Diversity in the environmental movement

This month on our podcast, we talked with Whitney Tome, Executive Director of Green 2.0, to talk about the importance of diversity in the environmental movement. In talking about our need to have more chairs at the table, we discussed Green 2.0’s new report, Beyond Diversity, which looked at how hiring practices might be reshaped to cast a bigger net, as well as their scorecards on the state of racial and gender representation at major environmental organizations.

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

Posted in Uncategorized| 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 »

Posted in Health Policy, Health Science, TSCA Reform| Comments are closed
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