PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Science

Protection of the environment and public health depends on scientific information that is reliable and impartial. Citizens and policy makers rely on the most current scientific knowledge and technologies to make wise decisions.

Chemicals in Rivers Linked to Sexual Changes in Fish (The Canadian Press)

University of Calgary professors have found that hormone-altering chemicals in rivers, such as synthetic estrogens and agricultural by-products, are changing the sexes of a small species of minnow. One of the researchers asserted "I think we need to look at this a little more carefully and ask, what is the message the fish are telling us. If the fish are showing bent genders and people are drinking the same water . . . we need to try to evaluate that risk.”

(30 Jul 2010)

NRDC Sues FDA for 30 Year Delay in Regulating Antimicrobials (NRDC)

The NRDC sued the FDA because the agency failed to finalize a 32 year old document that would regulate the use of triclosan and triclocarban, which are widely used and unregulated despite potential health risks, in hand soaps and body washes. The FDA revealed that these chemicals are minimally effective and data from laboratory animal studies shows that the chemicals interfere with hormones necessary for development and reproduction.

(28 Jul 2010)

House Committee To Hold Hearing On Public Access To Publicly Funded Research (Alliance for Taxpayer@ccess)

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census, and National Archives will hold a public hearing to discuss the potential impact of disclosing the results of more than $60 billion of government funded scientific research, which would be required under the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). The hearing will be held July 29th at 2:00 pm in Rayburn House Office Building, room 2154.

(27 Jul 2010)

Urban Air Pollutants May Damage Unborn Babies' IQs (Environmental Health News)

Recent studies of over 400 women in New York City and Krakow have found that 5 year olds exposed in the womb to above-average levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are created from the burning of fossil fuels, score lower on IQ tests. A pregnant woman involved in the New York City study asserted, "It’s scary and alarming that we can live in a society where these things are happening and they go unnoticed."

(26 Jul 2010)

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Label Genetically Modified Foods! (Grassroots Network)

The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act (HR 5577) calls for the labeling of genetically engineered food, which may negatively impact health. Potential risks of consuming genetically engineered food include birth defects, sterility, and "horizontal gene transfer," among other adverse effects. Contact your representative here, and defend your right to know!

(22 Jul 2010)

EPA and Other Federal Agencies Collaborate to Improve Chemical Screening (EPA)

The FDA joins the EPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the National Institutes of Health's Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) in the Tox21 collaboration, which uses federal agencies' combined resources to develop methods to more effectively predict how chemicals will impact human health and the environment. According to the NTP, "The addition of the FDA...allows biomedical researchers and regulatory scientists...to more rapidly screen chemicals and find more effective ways to protect the health of the public."

(19 Jul 2010)

Scientists Expected Obama Administration To be Friendlier (Los Angeles Times)

Government scientists are complaining that Obama is not reversing the culture that Bush enforced, where non-scientist managers interfere with the work of scientists and restrict their ability to speak publicly. The most recent example of compromised scientific integrity in the current administration is the decision to fight the Deepwater Horizon spill with potentially toxic dispersants despite scientific advice to examine the risks more thoroughly.

(13 Jul 2010)

EPA Relies on Industry-Backed Studies to Determine Safety of Weed Killer (The Huffington Post)

The EPA is publishing studies of the health effects of the pesticide Atrazine in drinking water that have been funded by companies with financial interest in the weed-killer. Many of these studies, which allege that the pesticide has minimal health risks, have not been scrutinized by independent scientists.

(09 Jul 2010)

EPA Launches A Collaborative Web Site for Integrative Environmental Modeling (EPA)

The EPA has launched the Integrative Modeling Hub (iemHUB), which allows environmental researchers to combine models after analyzing environmental problems to develop a better understanding of the environment. According to the EPA's Office of Research and Development, iemHUB "will advance our ability to predict the impacts of our actions on the environment."

(08 Jul 2010)

'Climategate' Inquiry Mostly Vindicates Scientists (Washington Post)

A third independent investigation into the leak of hundreds of e-mails from the University of East Anglia's climate research centers has "largely vindicated the scientists involved, saying they acted honestly and that their research was reliable...'We find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt,' [Panel head] Russell said. 'But we do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness.'" The other two investigations also supported the scientists' research findings.

(07 Jul 2010)