UNITED STATES: Business funds research

June 6, 2001

WASHINGTON — The non-profit Centre for Science in the Public Interest has launched an internet site to provide information on links between big corporations and research by scientists, mostly in the fields of nutrition, environment, toxicology and medicine.

The site also provides information about corporate "support" received by dozens of US professional, health and non-profit organisations, including the International Life Sciences Institute, American Council on Science and Health and the American Dietetic Association.

CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said that "Corporations increasingly are funding academic scientists to conduct research, speak at press conferences and provide advice. Too frequently, neither the scientists nor the corporations disclose that funding. We have begun to lift that veil of secrecy by providing journalists, activists, policy-makers and the public with information about the links between more than 1100 scientists and industry."

"Important health and environmental policies can be distorted by scientists who assert objectivity, but who receive funding from affected industries. The result could be more pollution, unsafe food additives, and dangerous consumer products", said Jacobson.

Ronald Collins, director of CSPI's Integrity in Science project, said: "We hope that this web site will encourage journalists to report on scientists' funding from industry. All too often reporters quote scientists without providing the public with needed information about their ties to industry, thus giving the impression that they have no such affiliations."

"Helping reporters spot possible corporate puppets masquerading as independent scientists is an important advance for democracy", said Morton Mintz, former Washington Post reporter and former chair of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

The site is at <http://integrityinscience.org>.

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