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Thursday, May 24, 2007

After our May 16 blog about consultant Dennis Paustenbach's possible appointment to an EPA panel on asbestos, we received a letter from Dr. Paustenbach's attorney. It says our use of the word "fraud" in describing the involvement of Dr. Paustenbach's company, ChemRisk, in the publication of a since-retracted study on chromium-6 in drinking water was "false and defamatory."

To clarify: The stated reason for the retraction by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine was that "financial and intellectual input to the paper by outside parties was not disclosed." JOEM said it found "no evidence to suggest the existence of scientific fraud," but our post could have been misinterpreted to say that it had.

EWG believes ChemRisk's activities producing and publishing a study under other scientists bylines while hiding its involvement and the fact that the study was paid for by a corporation with a financial interest in the findings were deceptive and unethical, but JOEM did not say they were fraud. To further clarify, here are the letter and supporting documents EWG sent to the journal that resulted in the retraction.

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