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EWG Statement on Reassignment of Chief of NIH Environmental Institute

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – Environmental Working Group (EWG) Executive Director Richard Wiles issued the following statement today in response to the decision by the head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) – a division of NIH – to step down as a result of an on-going investigation into his leadership of the health advisory panel.

"We hope this is the beginning of a much needed effort to restore NIEHS to its former independent, highly credible role of identifying chemicals that present risks to the public health.” said Richard Wiles, Executive Director of Environmental Working Group.

A recent EWG investigation discovered that NIEHS had no conflict of interest policy for contractors, and that in at least one case a contractor (Sciences International) with substantial ties to companies producing the chemicals under review claimed to be in charge of an entire NIEHS center (The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction - CERHR). Sciences International was subsequently fired, but serious questions remain about the integrity of the CERHR and related NIEHS review processes and the ongoing role of contractors with significant industry ties in the process of assessing the health risks of chemicals in the environment.

“NIEHS should implement a comprehensive and transparent conflict of interest policy so that protecting public health is the only priority when making decisions that could have serious health impacts for the American people,” added Wiles.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment

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