How Science Is Done in America

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I’ve always regretted not taking more biology and chemistry classes in college. But, now, this lowly Poli Sci major knows better how scientific fact is made in America.

…[P]rior to the May 2009 study, the National Cancer Institute had also performed a preliminary study that linked formaldehyde to leukemia, but members of Congress including Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and David Vitter, R-La., managed to delay the EPA from officially designating the chemical as a “known carcinogen.”

(The EPA in June, however, released a draft assessment [3] of formaldehyde that supports that designation, but it’s not yet official.)

In 2005, Koch Industries bought Georgia-Pacific, one of the world’s largest plywood manufacturers and a major formaldehyde producer. The company has donated to both Vitter and Inhofe [2].

In a letter to federal health authorities sent last December, the company’s vice-president of environmental affairs wrote that “the company ‘strongly disagrees’ with the N.I.H. panel’s conclusion that formaldehyde should be treated as a known human carcinogen,” reported The New Yorker.

I knew Theodore Lowi knew more than Einstein! But, this is classic!

The National Cancer Institute’s director, Harold Varmus, told The New Yorker that at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center…it wasn’t uncommon for donors to have large business interests, but “the one thing we wouldn’t tolerate in our board members is tobacco.”

At least, he knows his priorities.

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Filed under: Business/Economy, Politics, Science, Social Science, USA Tagged: cancer, formaldehyde, koch industries, national cancer institute, nih, sloan-kettering, theodore lowi


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