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CSPI letter regarding conflicts of in...

Battling the MSG Myth » Sharing Media Reports and Letters Related to the Issue » CSPI letter regarding conflicts of interest at CDC « Previous Next »

Author Message
Carol H
Posted on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 6:31 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi folks. Got this in my email. It seems the Bush admin. is at it again - allowing conflicts of interest to interfere with our best interests. Tommy Thompson is the official who is trying to get to the bottom of the obesity issue (which we all know is linked to the MSG problem), but he won't do it by stacking committees with industry reps. If this bothers you, respond to this:

"Health and Human Services Secretary Thompson is playing
politics with appointments to key scientific advisory
committees at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) by replacing respected scientists with industry
insiders on influential committees advising on lead
poisoning, environmental health, and other issues.
Tell Thompson that corporate and political interests
will exert undue--and nearly unseen--influence over
public-health policy unless CDC puts in place strong
safeguards. Send a letter to Thompson urging him to
direct the CDC to adopt conflict-of-interest and full
disclosure policies!

You can take action on this alert either via email
(please see directions below) or via the web at:
http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/conflict_of_interest_cdc/wsxsbx41783nw3

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about
this.
http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/conflict_of_interest_cdc/forward/wsxsbx41783nw3

We encourage you to take action by February 18, 2003

Help Stop Conflicts of Interest at CDC

INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB:
If you have access to a web browser, you can take action
on this alert by going to the following URL:

http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/conflict_of_interest_cdc/wsxsbx41783nw3

INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA EMAIL:
Just choose the "reply to sender" option on your email
program.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
is playing politics with appointments to key scientific
advisory committees at the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) by replacing respected scientists
with industry insiders -- individuals with ideological
agendas -- on influential committees advising on lead
poisoning, environmental health, and other issues.

In recent months, the Bush administration has come
under fire for applying ideological litmus tests to
nominees for key scientific advisory posts, by quizzing
nominees about partisan politics or political issues.
Those often-undisclosed financial ties of nominees
to those posts and the lack of a written conflict-of-interest
policy at CDC runs afoul of the Federal Advisory Committee
Act (FACA).

The CDC has no policies prohibiting or even disclosing
conflicts of interest on its important committees,
and the Bush administration has ignored some of the
minimal safeguards that CDC does have. The danger is
that special interests will exert undue--and nearly
unseen--influence over public-health policy.

For example, on CDC's Advisory Committee to the Director
of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH),
Secretary Thompson replaced a majority of committee
members with people closely tied to energy and chemical
interests, apparently ignoring the advice of NCEH's
director or that committee's chair. Also, several Bush
administration appointees to CDC's Advisory Committee
on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention have ties to
the lead industry.

Please send a letter to Secretary Thompson urging him
to direct CDC to immediately disclose information about
the conflicts of interest of current advisory committee
members and establish uniform policies and procedural
safeguards to prevent undue influence by special interests
and to assure transparency and public participation
in the committee process.

See the press release and letter to Secretary Thompson
signed by CSPI and other advocacy groups at:
http://www.cspinet.org/new/200212171.html

Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
Secretary Tommy Thompson

----THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT IN YOUR NAME----
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

I am concerned about recent setbacks to the integrity
of the scientific advisory process at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC's credibility
is essential for the protection of the public's health.
Without stronger safeguards that promote transparency,
integrity, and public participation, the process for
all intents and purposes occurs behind closed doors,
and financial interests appear to inappropriately influence
the selection of members for CDC's scientific advisory
committees.

I was troubled to learn of your politicization of the
scientific review process. You replaced a majority
of members of CDC's Advisory Committee to the Director
of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
with people closely tied to energy and chemical interests,
apparently ignoring the advice of NCEH's director or
that committee's chair. And several Bush administration
appointees to CDC's Advisory Committee on Childhood
Lead Poisoning Prevention have ties to the lead industry.

I urge you to direct CDC to immediately disclose information
about the conflicts of interest of current advisory
committee members and to establish uniform policies
and procedural safeguards to prevent undue influence
by special interests and assure transparency and public
participation in the committee process.

----END OF LETTER TO BE SENT----

Sincerely,
carol hoernlein

If you would like to unsubscribe from Center for Science
in the Public Interest, you can respond to this email
with "REMOVE" as the subject, or you can visit your
subscription management page at:
http://actionnetwork.org/CSPI/smp.tcl?nkey=wsxsbx41783nw3



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Judy T
Posted on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 9:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol: Again, thank you. I got this e-mail too and I did respond (it was easier than it looked at first). Anyway, I'm not computer literate enough to handle putting this on our board so this is great to have you do it.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 5:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol H and/or Deb A,

I like the ease of participation made available by the website posted by Carol above. I remember the site from a previous political endeavor published here. In fact I got a response from my congressman, Phillip Crane -- so I know it works.

It would be nice to set up a similar system on either this site or Carol's site for issues pertaining to Excitotoxin legislation so we are ready to let our voices heard when the time comes. I'm sure the webmaster at the actionnetwork.org would work with us -- perhaps it would be as easy as notifying them of an issue and they would set up the whole thing and we would just publish a link to their site as Carol did.
Carol H
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 3:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I suspect the reason the Bush administration is trying to stack the CDC with insiders has probably more to do with the self-righteous strong-willed determination of Mr. Bush and the religious right-wing Republican faction to impose its will on the world. They are trying to use "health issues" as a means to do it. They are already trying to cut aid for womens health programs. Who knows, Mr. Bush may also be doing this so that his friends in the strip mining business can say with a straight face "But arsenic in our drinking water is really GOOD for you." However, for whatever reason the Bush administration has done this, it will definitely make it more difficult for us. The sad tragedy of the situation is that his own father appears to have a case of MSG sensitivity himself - why else would George senior have lost his lunch right in the lap of his Japanese dinner host at the dinner table all those years ago?
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 6:17 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can you say "conflict of interest?":

http://www.rense.com/general31/elet.htm

A 1996 article (some things never change):

http://www.scionofzion.com/poisonfood.htm
Laurie M
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 6:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Carol,
I love ya but please don't lump all religious right wing ideals together in one big group. I for one AM a very religious right wing conservative who understands the MSG issue but unfortunately a lot of people have never even considered it to be a problem. Or for that matter known there could be a problem. Let's educate the President not just bash him. Why don't we write him letters. He probably won't see most of them but eventually one would probably reach him. We are ready to attack because this is such a humongous deal to us but most people do not understand that. I would also like to point out that you have ties to Nutrasweet so does that make it inappropriate to have you on a board evaluating its effects? Or are you a perfect candidate because you know what you are talking about because of past experience. Things are not always what they seem and we can't always take things at face value without looking at the other side. I don't know what is up with the appointments but I would never sign my name to a petition unless I had all the facts. The above Petition is obviously against Bush and they don't provide names or examples of the alleged replacements. It definitely calls for more research. These so called insiders may have some ties to companies but also the experience that would allow them to fill the post in such a way that they could evaluate the situation perfectly. Just my thoughts. i haven't researched who is right but political decisions should never be based on the info from only one side.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 4:47 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Laurie,

Please don't attack Carol, who has sincerely repented for her involvement with the purveyors of Nutrasweet. We should be going after those who are still profiting from it, financially and/or politically. If you feel that President Bush can be made to care about the damage done by MSG and Nutrasweet, more power to you. It's just that Mr. Bush is more likely to listen to Monsanto.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/MonBushAdmin.cfm
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 9:32 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am sorry, Laurie. I regretted it as soon as I hit "post". I was just venting. I understand that not all Republicans are bad, and that this should not be a partisan issue. There is no place for that here - many of our posters on this board don't even live in the US. Religion should not enter the discussion either - it is usually the source of more trouble than any other issue. To be quite honest, because I was so dismayed at the way the previous administration handled the biotechnology issue and the way the current administration is handling the environment - I now actually consider myself independent. I no longer work for the industry, and was actually quite harmed by it - so perhaps I am actually biased against the companies that gave me an expensive affliction. Please don't take my anger at the current administration to heart. You are right in that we should write letters. I think the first Lady is especially kind and concerned about our children. Perhaps we can write to her as well.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:35 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Again, I am so impressed by the intelligence, openess, sensitivity and degree of caring of all our posters here. That is why we hear only good comments about this discussion board...all the time. It IS easy to become angry and frustrated when we see and feel so much pain around us everywhere and we know why...but it seems no one is listening...but more and more are. Do all you can, via any means to get to the people who may be able to make a difference. We are still blessed to live in a country that provides means for us to express ourselves freely. But in the mean time, all of us are able to open our mouths and share what we know. We can write to health editors from magazines and newspapers, and post links on websites about MSG sites. I personally know how mightly the pen can still be! We can put books about MSG in local libraries (many of you have done this because people who want copies of our book tell us they first saw one in their library). These are not small things...these victims go on to inform thousands of other victims. Many of us will agree, that after time, we seem to grow antennae about the people around us who need this information. I carry books around in my car all the time and have given them to total strangers. You can download our updated handout, make copies, and give them to schools, hospitals, doctors, fellow workers, etc. From grassroots efforts to political means, lets attack the real enemy...ignorance. Thanks eternally for your passion and for being activists in your own way. Let's all make a constant effort to separate personal opinion from truth in all our postings...tall request, but it does help us all when we try.
Thank heaven for the freedoms we do enjoy, and the ability to effect some change in this crazy, but amazing world! You are all more than appreciated.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 11:48 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am reposting this info for some who may want it. The newsletter I received is not one I am recommending by any means. Our friend is MSG and chemically sensitive and surprised us with it.

"Hi gang! I have just received a copy of a newsletter of "Our toxic times". A friend bought a subscription for us as a gift. It needs a story about MSG and I will send one in when I get a moment. Anyway, as I was skimming through it, I noticed there were several ads for personal care products and home products that may interest some of you...lipsticks, shampoo, baby products, organic cotton items, cleaning products, chemical free furnitiure. I checked out one site, www.chemicallysensitive.com, and it looked pretty interesting. I can't endorse any of the products, but since we often get requests for info on such items, they might offer some safe alternatives. Here are some other sites:
filler free supplements and herbs-www.DrRons.com
home and personal products-www.janices.com
home and personal products-www.dakotafree.com
furniture-www.furnature.com"
Laurie M
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 6:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol I wholeheartedly agree with you. I know I have regretted little things said or typed when I feel like venting. I just wanted to clarify the issue because I felt it was a little muddy. No hard feelings. I think you are an incredibly intelligent person and I know we can all help each other when it comes to learning and discussing. :)And I didn't mean that you are a bad glutamate person by any means! I just wanted to point out that sometimes connections are not what they seem. On paper versus reality your connections can look very different. I simply wanted you or anyone else for that matter to place yourselves in the situation those appointed officials are in. Just think of the scrutiny. I love ya guys I just like to make people dig a little deeper.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 8:03 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You sure are right about Carol, Laurie. She is brilliant and one of the sweetest people I have met. And you both have made some very good points. We should always do some research before we commit ourselves to something, for example. There have been some lousy men who have been great leaders and presidents, and some great men who have been just terrible leaders and presidents. What we need to do is find a great political or social leader to champion this cause. We saw the ad for the new show with Erin Brokavitch....know I slaughtered the spelling of her name. Anyway, Mike made the comment that we need to get our case to her! :)
vrtu1
Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 5:10 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have lived in the DC area for over 20 years and sources who have worked in the White House say that letters to the Pres. are trashed and never read. Thoughtfully consider where your letters can be sent to do the most good. Having sent hundreds to all manner of government agencies and officials I am of the confirmed belief that they endorse neurotoxin$ and the money that's involved...as we $earch for the cure. Keep telling your friends and the public though, they have a right to know. Print up business cards to include websites like this one (and others) and hand them to the people who are telling you about their health problems.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 10:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

..should clarify when I said, "there have been some lousy men who have been great leaders and presidents"...meaning that they eventually rose to the challenge despite their weaknesses, and grew as men.
vrtu1, some great leaders in this cause have knocked on legislators' doors for years...actually walking the halls of their chambers in D.C....to little or no avail (the Samuels, for example). Dr. John Olney, the scientist who began warning the public in the
60's was made to look like an idiot during the
senate subcommitte hearings, along with other scientists..by high paid, savy lawyers for the food industry. Talk about the power of money. :(
That is why we must do all we can to warn the public in any way we can think of. When I hear that autism is up 273% in the last decade, it gives me impetus to keep going. Your suggestion for business cards is a good one. Thanks.
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