NIH Cancels Contract with Conflicted Consultants

Sciences International -- the firm that evaluated the safety of certain chemicals for the U.S. Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, "helping the government determine whether they pose dangers to reproduction and newborn babies" -- has been fired by the federal government. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and others had raised conflict-of-interest concerns, as Sciences International was doing government work while "on the payroll of Dow Chemical, BASF, 3M and other companies that produce some of the chemicals under scrutiny." EWG director Richard Wiles said, "Protecting the public health is one of those jobs that can't be farmed out to contractors who have huge conflicts of interest with polluters and chemical makers." Sciences International "was in the fourth year of a $5 million, five-year contract" with the National Institutes of Health, which houses the reproductive health center.