Whistleblowers Expose Corruption in EPA Chemical Safety Office
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: July 19th, 2021
Managers and career staff in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention tampered with the assessments of dozens of chemicals to make them appear safer, according to four scientists who work at the agency. The whistleblowers, whose jobs involve identifying the potential harms posed by new chemicals, provided ... detailed evidence of pressure within the agency to minimize or remove evidence of potential adverse effects of the chemicals, including neurological effects, birth defects, and cancer. Information about hazards was deleted from agency assessments without informing or seeking the consent of the scientists who authored them. Some of these cases led the EPA to withhold critical information from the public about potentially dangerous chemical exposures. In other cases, the removal of the hazard information or the altering of the scientists’ conclusions in reports paved the way for the use of chemicals, which otherwise would not have been allowed on the market. William Irwin, [one] of the four whistleblowers, who has worked at the EPA for over 11 years as a toxicologist, was ... moved out of the office after repeatedly resisting pressure to change his assessments to favor industry. Irwin said that while it had seemed obvious that the pressure stemmed from chemical companies, the science adviser in the office made the point irrefutably clear during an argument over one particular chemical assessment.
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