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  Updated 5-31-08
 
 
 

Congress Investigates Industry Junk Science Journal with Ties to
Glynn County and Altama Elementary School

 
 


The outrageous conduct of the American Chemistry Council, their stacking of chemical and health advisory boards, and the questionable science in their journal, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, has spawned a Congressional investigation with implications for Glynn County, and Altama Elementary School.

John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, started the investigation when the American Chemistry Council tried to have a chemical review panel member removed without cause.  The investigation soon uncovered how the American Chemistry Council had been removing critical health information from panel reports and suppressing scientific reports and information, or publishing junk science in their journal, which in some cases the EPA had used exclusively to make decisions.   The recent news reports about Bisphenol A and the recall of plastic products containing the chemical are a direct result of this investigation, which is continuing. 

Okay. What does this have to do with Glynn County and Altama Elementary School?

The GEC brought our concerns about the under-quantification of toxaphene to the attention of EPA Region 4 throughout the 1990’s without satisfactory results.  The GEC submitted our concerns to the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), which became a formal audit that culminated with the EPA OIG releasing “Appropriate Testing and Timely Reporting Are Needed at the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site Brunswick, Georgia,” which abuts Altama Elementary School.

In response to the EPA OIG Report, EPA Region 4 and the State of Georgia produced the article, “Development of a reference dose for the persistent congeners of weathered toxaphene based on vivo and in vitro effects related to tumor promotion,” which was published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, by Ted Simon, EPA Region 4; and Randall Manning, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, hereafter referred to as Simon and Manning.  Noteworthy was that the article did not present any new data, but rather was a creative reinterpretation of existing scientific studies, which came to a radically different conclusion about the toxicological properties of toxaphene and advocated testing for only three of the 670+ chemicals in the toxaphene mixture, which would not be present or only in very small amounts.  The EPA OIG found the article interesting but noted that the method proposed would underestimate the amount of toxaphene chemicals present and would exclude the toxaphene chemicals present in the largest amounts.

The Simon and Manning article published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology has been extensively commented upon by the GEC.  Dr. R. Kevin Pegg, in his capacity as our community’s technical advisor under an EPA Technical Assistance Grant, reviewed and commented upon the Simon and Manning article and noted many deficiencies and scientific inaccuracies.  All parties who reviewed and commented upon the Simon and Manning article found deficiencies and inaccuracies in the scientific argument presented.

The EPA OIG noted in his close-out letter that EPA Region 4 remained steadfast in their refusal to test for and report all toxaphene chemicals present.    Furthermore, the EPA OIG stated that EPA Region 4 should provide the calculations used to reach conclusions in the Simon and Manning article, which the EPA and the authors have been unable to provide. When the authors only do a reanalysis of other's science and can’t produce the calculations in support of their conclusions, this is a strong indication that it is "junk science".

After the EPA OIG found the method to test for toxaphene in our community inappropriate, the GEC requested that EPA Region 4 re-sample Altama Elementary School that abuts the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site, which has documented releases to the school property from the Superfund Site and has only received testing by the method found to be inappropriate and known to under-quantify toxaphene.  Further requests to test the school were made by the Glynn County Board of Education. Instead of testing the school, the EPA Region 4 made a presentation to the Board of Education on January 29, 2008.  In this EPA Region 4 presentation, based upon the Simon and Manning article, the EPA concluded that even if chemicals were present, they were not harmful to the elementary school students, and refused to re-test a school known to be contaminated and only tested by an inappropriate method.  The GEC is hopeful that the Congressional investigation will assist us in getting the proper testing, which our community deserves.

Glynn County Gets More Junk Science

Did you know that the PCBs in Glynn County are 10 times less toxic than PCBs found in other communities?  That is exactly what is being argued in an article published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, which is known to be friendly to the chemical manufacturing industry and supported by the American Chemistry Council.  The article, from this junk science journal now under investigation by Congress, appeared in the recent ecological risk assessment for the estuary next to the LCP Chemicals Superfund Site.

To say the article, entitled, "Development of a neurotoxic equivalence scheme of relative potency for assessing the risk of PCB mixtures," is science is quite a stretch.   There is no original data, only a hodge-podge of pick and choose papers strung together and commented upon to reach a conclusion.  Not only is this tactic similar to what was done to hide toxaphene on Altama Elementary School, the article was written by one of the same authors of the article arguing for testing only 3 of the 670+ chemicals in toxaphene, Dr. Ted Simon.

This junk science article is undergoing further review by our community's technical advisor, Dr. R. Kevin Pegg, and we will publish his review when completed.

 

 

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