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Special Report: Scientists Critical of EU Chemical Policy Have Industry Ties

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page.

Seventeen scientists who have criticized plans in Europe to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals have past or current ties to regulated industries.

An investigation by Environmental Health News reveals that of 18 toxicology journal editors who signed a controversial editorial, 17 have collaborated with the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, tobacco, pesticide or biotechnology industries. Some have received research funds from industry associations, while some have served as industry consultants or advisors. [ Read about the scientists here.]

The stakes are high in the controversy because it involves the European Union's strategy to regulate hormone-altering chemicals - the first attempt in the world to do so. The new rules would have sweeping, global ramifications because all companies that sell a variety of products in Europe would have to comply.

The editorial - published in 14 scientific journals from July to September - has created a firestorm in Europe among many scientists and regulators. It criticized a leaked draft proposal by Europe's Environment Directorate-General that recommends a precautionary approach, which could lead to the ban of some commonly used chemicals.

The signees, including many toxicology professors at universities in Europe, wrote that the European Commission plan is "scientifically unfounded" and is "defying common sense, well-established science and risk assessment principles."

The proposed rules have "worrisome ramifications" for "science, the economy, and human welfare the world over" and "lack the required scientific robustness needed for such an important piece of legislation," they wrote.

All of the scientists who responded to questions from Environmental Health News denied they were influenced by industry.  

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