David Schwartz, the embattled director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), resigned the post Feb. 8, 2008. He had stepped down temporarily in August 2007 after congressional and executive branch investigations into his policies and practices.
Schwartz raised controversy when he declared he would "privatize" NIEHS' world-renowned journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Not only did that appear to be an effort to silence sound science at the behest of White House "free-market" enthusiasts - but it appeared to be a conflict of interest, as the leading contender to reap the private contract was Schwartz's old employer, Duke University, with whom he had kept financial ties during his tenure at NIEHS.
In a letter to NIEHS employees, Schwartz wrote: "I also recognize that our community has not universally embraced the scientific direction or strategies that I have implemented during my tenure as director. In my enthusiasm to bring new science and opportunities to our field, it appears that I have inadvertently disenfranchised segments of our community. I sincerely apologize for the pain this may have caused. I am confident that new leadership can address the concerns of those in our community."
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