The Bush administration’s habit since its opening moments of exclaiming admiration for sound science while slanting interpretion (ie, regulations) in favor of its corporate friends has earned it full blowback. A heap of suspicion meets everything it tries that relies on, you know: data, logic, and other pillars of the scientific method. The Tracker is late catching on to a good example last week, but its an example of people really jumping on the beleaguered Bushies and anybody who works for them.
Sue Goetinck Ambrose in the Dallas Morning News amassed a pile of evidence, quotes, and stats that pillory an EPA program to monitor so-called endocrine distruptors. They are the huge, and nearly ubiquitous, class of industrial compounds that seem able at tiny concentrations to heave a monkey wrench into the development of wild animals and people too. Males in particular seem to wind up with female characteristics. Lowered fertility and even cancer seem plausible as consequences for us humans. Oddly, low doses seems as bad as or worse than high ones, some say. Hmmm.
The story reads true, a reaction fed by the administration’s mishandling of energy, wildlife, wetlands, climate, pollution, and other realms of technical issues (at least its AIDS policies are admirable).
But cutting her story’s credibility somewhat is Goetinck Ambrose’s prominent citation of experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Good people, perhaps, but hardly a disinterested party. If there is any chance to pile on the White House they are in the crowd that will take a running jump. At first approximation, reporters looking for persuasive technical sources should shy away from crusaders — from greenies to the Competitive Enterprise Institute et al. (Cartoon purloined from Nature mag.).
Other Endocrine Disrupter news: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Susanne Rust on moves in Europe, debate over severity of risk (May 31);