Science

Oil and Rigorous Science Just Don't Mix

A National Cancer Institute study found that "workers exposed to average levels of benzene" were four times more likely to develop cancer. Benzene is a component of gasoline, so tighter regulations would have "an impact on gasoline production," said a former Mobil Oil toxicologist.

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Biotech Critic Denied Tenure at UC Berkeley

Dr. Ignacio Chapela, whose research revealed contamination of native Mexican corn with genetically engineered DNA, taught his last class at University of California, Berkeley. Chapela was denied tenure at Berkeley, despite "overwhelming support from his own department and from his academic peers," GM Watch founder Jonathan Matthews writes. Chapela had also been a critic of a $25 million research deal between UC Berkeley and the Swiss biotechnology company Novartis (now Syngenta).

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The Best Science Money Can Buy

Last December, researchers involved with studying the use of antidepressants in children faced questions as federal regulators looked into evidence that the drugs increased suicide risks. The researchers tried "for months to gather all the test data," writes Barry Meier, but "could get only pieces of that information. Some drug companies refused to turn over data to the group, even though these researchers had helped come up with it. ...

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Another Blow to Independent Science

"A researcher who publicly questioned the safety of Pfizer Inc.'s painkiller Bextra was removed from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that will review it and similar products next year," reported the Wall Street Journal.

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We Confuse, You Decide

Women seeking abortions in Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Kansas are told that "abortion can increase their risk of breast cancer," and "legislation to require such notification has been introduced in 14 other states." But "a panel of scientists convened by the National Cancer Institute reviewed available data and concluded there is no link.

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Chemical Industry Helps Fund EPA Study

The American Chemistry Council is giving the Environmental Protection Agency $2 million for a study to explore the impact of pesticides and household chemicals on young children. The trade association, which represents nearly 150 chemical and plastics manufacturers and has a $100 million budget, spent more than $2 million on lobbying in 2003.

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