Delay Of Report Is Blamed On Politics
Document Suggests Public Health Risks Near Great Lakes
By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 18, 2008; A03
CHICAGO — The lead author and peer reviewers of a government report raising the possibility of public health threats from industrial contamination throughout the Great Lakes region are charging that the report is being suppressed because of the questions it raises. The author also alleges that he was demoted because of the report.
Chris De Rosa, former director of the division of toxicology and environmental medicine at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), charges that the report he wrote was a significant factor in his reassignment to a non-supervisory “special assistant” position last year.
. . . “Unfortunately the draft (De Rosa) thought was final wasn’t provided to the senior scientists and managers of ATSDR until about a week or two before he thought it would be published,” Nowak said. “At that point, very senior people not typically in the review process got a copy and had some significant questions and concerns.”
. . . Michael Gilbertson, an Ontario biologist who peer-reviewed the report, said political motives are behind the delay. “This information, which really should have been distributed more than a year ago, is inconvenient to the administration,” Gilbertson said.
Senior people not ordinarily in the review process isn’t even code anymore. It represents agency directors appointed by Bush, most often selected from the very industries and corporations these agencies are charged with overseeing.
Particularly politically insensitive, is the wholesale deconstruction of any government agency remotely connected with environmental controls or the oversight of industry standards. Thus we are victims of a spate of recalls on food and consumer products from the recently unprecedented tainted beef scandal (143 million pounds) to case after case of children’s toys and ‘safety’ equipment being determined as unsafe.
The basic structures of government oversight are being dismantled by an administration that is so callous to health and safety, favoring instead unfettered business interests above all else, that 30 years of standards have been reversed.