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CHE Café: Protecting scientists from industry intimidation

July 23 , 1:00 pm 2:00 pm EDT

Scientific findings can inform stronger policies that protect public health — which sometimes negatively impacts profits of companies that produce health-harming chemicals and products. 

Industry intimidation of researchers who explore the impact of exposure to chemicals and other substances on human health is a longstanding problem. When Dr. Henry Needleman found his credibility under fire after publishing data linking children’s lead exposure to lower IQs in the early 1980s, he offered this advice to early career environmental health scientists: 

“Do not avoid difficult areas of investigation. Take risks. If scientists exclusively choose the safe routes, avoid controversial research problems, and play only minor variations of someone else’s themes, they voluntarily turn themselves into technicians. Our craft will indeed be in peril.”

At a time when strong, independent science is more important than ever, corporations are ramping up attacks on scientists in the environmental health field. In this CHE Café conversation, Dr. Lisa Bero and Dr. Lariah Edwards will share their own stories of industry intimidation, and reflect on steps needed to protect researchers and maintain scientific integrity.

CHE Director Kristin Schafer will moderate the discussion.

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