On July 2, 2021, investigative online magazine The Intercept published a story with information from four whistleblowers within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claiming that the agency is pressuring scientists responsible for assessing chemicals’ toxicology “to minimize or remove evidence of potential adverse effects of the chemicals, including neurological effects, birth defects, and cancer.” The whistleblowers claim the EPA is caving to industry pressure by mischaracterizing findings – such as reporting results of tests on a pregnant rat without including the measured weight reduction of the fetus, using less toxic substances as a reference to gauge the safety of little-studied chemicals, or altering reports of toxicologists before they become public.

In response to the whistleblowers’ testimony, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an organization that provides support to public employees “dedicated to upholding environmental laws and values,” submitted a complaint to the EPA. In the complaint they ask the EPA to audit the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention to “identify risk assessments that were altered without the knowledge or consent of the risk assessor; investigate apparent violations of the EPA’s records management policy…; and evaluate the process that allowed these changes to be made and remain uncorrected.”

The Intercept plans to run a series of articles based on the whistleblowers’ reports.


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Sharon Lerner (July 2, 2021). “Whistleblowers expose corruption in EPA chemical safety office.” The Intercept