Read It Now: Suppressed CDC Great Lakes Toxics Report

March 26, 2008

After Congressional Democrats criticized them for suppressing a report on toxic substances in the Great Lakes, and after an independent investigative journalism group published excerpts, the Centers for Disease Control finally published it March 12, 2008.

After first explaining that the report was being withheld because the public might find it "alarming" to hear that toxics in the Lakes might be causing an increase in cancer and infant mortality, the Bush administration changed its tune. The study had undergone many cycles of intense peer review, but Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and Henry Falk, who oversees CDC research on environmental health hazards, said they stopped the report because they had misgivings about the science.

Bush administration agencies have severely eroded their scientific credibility after many incidents where scientific doubts have been manufactured to head off public health regulations opposed by industries such as the chemical and petroleum industries, who have contributed heavily to Bush political coffers. The CDC incident is just one of dozens where critics have charged the administration with manipulation and suppression of science. CDC has sent the draft study to the National Academies' Institute of Medicine for yet another review.