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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

10,600 Scientists Condemn Political Interference in Science

A statement by Nobel laureates and other leading scientists calling for the restoration of scientific integrity to federal policy making has now been signed by 10,600 scientists from all 50 states, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The announcement came as the scientists group released an "A to Z" guide that documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science.

"From airborne bacteria to Ground Zero, science continues to be misrepresented for political gain," says Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program. "The new Congress should enact meaningful reforms so decisions within federal scientific agencies and advisory committees are based on objective and unbiased science."

The integrity of science statement has grown steadily since it was first released in February 2004. Signatories now include 52 Nobel Laureates, 63 National Medal of Science recipients, and almost 200 members of the National Academies of Science. Meanwhile, the new UCS compendium details censorship and political interference in federal science on issues as diverse as air quality, childhood lead poisoning, and prescription drug safety. For example, in late October UCS released documents tying high-level political appointees at the Department of Interior to the manipulation and distortion of numerous scientific documents to prevent the protection of six different species under the Endangered Species Act.

"The scientist statement makes clear that while science is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should be objective and impartial," says Grifo. "Sustained protest from scientists, individual Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the nation's leading editorial pages has not been enough to make the abuse of science stop."


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