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Toxic chemicals

American Chemical Council is now EPA's Lead Research Partner

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: toxic chemicals, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The American Chemical Council has become the number one research partner of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

PEER warns that an increasing focus on partnering with industry is leading the EPA to neglect public health and safety in favor of carrying out research and development for corporations.

"Many of us in the labs feel like we work for contracts," one EPA scientist wrote to PEER.

PEER cites the increase in cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) between the EPA and industry in recent years, from 34 in Clinton's second term to 57 during Bush's first. Yet according to a 2005 review by the Government Accountability Office, the EPA lacks any safeguards to "evaluate or manage potential conflicts of interest" that arise from taking industry money.

"Injecting outside money into a public agency research program, especially when it is tied to particular projects, has a subtle but undeniable influence on not only what work gets done but also how that work is reported," warned PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

The effects of the EPA/industry partnership can already be seen in shifting agency priorities, PEER says. For example, a 2005 report by the EPA's own Science Advisory Board concluded that the agency no longer allocate funding to any credible public health research. The report also warned that the EPA is failing to properly investigate emerging threats such as intercontinental pollution and nanotechnology.

PEER says that long-term health monitoring studies and other such public health or environmental concerns have taken a back seat to research that addresses the regulatory concerns of industry.

In 2007, after extensive lobbying by the chemical industry, the EPA began its first human tests of pesticide tolerance, a practice that has come under intense fire from environmental and public health advocates for ethical reasons.

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