Originally published May 20 2008
Leading Scientists Are Pushing for Politics to Be Removed From Research
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) Leading U.S. scientists have called on Congress to prevent the next elected president from doing what they say the George W. Bush Administration has done. That would be censoring, suppressing and falsifying key environmental and health research. Serious consequences result when drug safety decisions are not based on the finest and most accurate scientific advice available from experts.
More than 15,000 government scientists have signed the statement asking Congress to protect scientific integrity.
Interference from the White House is just part of the problem, however. The other factor is industry lobbyists. This group is very influential over government agencies, trying to influence the research that will have impact on their corporations. Unfortunately, these special interest groups are being given access and influence at a high level.
Government scientists are having their findings subjected to censorship and misrepresentation. The public as well as Congress has often been deprived of accurate scientific information. The pursuit of science in an open society has had a long and successful run in America. Unfortunately, this tradition has been violated in recent years and the government itself is responsible.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has begun tracking the Bush Administration's activities within the scientific community. Amazingly, at least 1,191 scientists who are employed at nine federal agencies have reported that they fear retaliation from superiors if the results of their research are perceived as threatening to corporate or other interests.
When certain programs produce research results that are considered inconvenient or negative, they are being penalized by having their funding cut.
One such program is an annual compilation of pollutants released by private companies, called the Toxic Release Inventory. This listing has reportedly been undermined. The NASA satellite research program Mission to Planet Earth, whose purpose is to document environmental degradation, has also been the target of extensive budget cuts.
This interference has been largely directed at climate change research, new birth control pharmaceuticals, species protection, consumer safety studies, and agricultural research.
The suppression of specific health data by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may cost many people who were at Ground Zero in New York City their health. Following September 11, the then-EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman repeatedly assured the public and safety personnel that the dust hovering over Ground Zero and settling over New York was not harmful to them. Many rescue workers and local residents have now become very sick because of the toxicity of the air they were breathing.
Another hot topic has been the commission's refusal to warn the public about significant issues with products like all-terrain vehicles. This, even when research showed clearly how dangerous they were. It has been disclosed that a political appointee prevented research on all-terrain-vehicle safety from reaching the public -- even when deaths and injuries were occurring with their use.
In another example, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture was prevented 11 times from publicizing his research about the dangers of airborne bacteria near large pig farms in Iowa and Missouri. His research determined that the bacterium found is resistant to antibiotics. Unfortunately, his supervisor restricted him from discussing his results. He was told: "politically sensitive and controversial issues require discretion." Incidentally, these pig farms are major U.S. pork producers.
It's very important that scientific and mathematical research on consumer products be free of influence from politics. This influence will incorporate a bias in favor of the industry. When science is falsified, fabricated, or censored people's health and safety will suffer.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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