On September 25, 2014, the Brussels-based research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a new report investigating industry ties of scientists on EU’s Scientific Committees. CEO investigated the corporate affiliations of the scientists involved in the safety assessments of parabens, titanium dioxide in its nano form, nanosilver, and mercury. They report that 67% of the scientists involved in preparation of the 4 scientific opinions had at least ties to one of the industries impacted by the assessments. In a press release, the CEO’s Pascoe Sabido stressed that potentially harmful substances such as endocrine disrupting parabens should be assessed by fully independent expert scientific groups in order to ensure objective assessment. He stressed that the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) needs to scrutinize how its processes and procedures can be reformed.
The authors further examined whether DG SANCO adhered to its independence principles and high standard of excellence and transparency. They interviewed DG SANCO staff, scientists on the Committees and those closely following the Committees’ work as well as public interest groups. The subsequent analysis based on the interviews and supported by extensive desk research revealed several existing weaknesses. The report concludes by offering a number of recommendations for fully meeting the above principles.
CEO (September 25, 2014). “Two-thirds of scientists advising the EU on controversial substances have industry links”
CEO (September 25, 2014). “Chemical conflicts: inadequate independence policies for EU’s expert risk assessors”