Science for Sale

It appears that industry now exerts such influence over
scientific research that even the most reputable organizations
can?t seem to find scientists without conflicts of interest. As
reported in Onearth (Fall 2002), published by the
Natural Resources Defense Council, even the prestigious
International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyons, France, may
have fallen prey to the trend. After inviting a scientist with ties
to PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and the maker of Sweet ?n Low to serve on
one of its highly respected review panels, the IARC favorably
revised the status of the sweetener saccharin from a ?possible?
carcinogen to a substance whose risk was undetermined. Other recent
IARC panels have favorably reassessed the pesticide atrazine and
the manufacturing chemical 1,3-butadiene. These revisions come on
the heels of the New England Journal of Medicine?s loosening its
rules against publishing articles by authors with ties to companies
manufacturing the products being reviewed. (The journal claimed it
was getting hard to find authors without conflicts.)

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