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Environmental, Public Health and Labor Groups Lobbied to Keep Journal Public

Statement by Dr. Jennifer Sass, Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist

WASHINGTON (June 28, 2006) -- The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) today announced it will continue to publish the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).

Last fall, NIEHS Director David Schwartz proposed to privatize the monthly publication, but more than 300 individuals and organizations protested the move, which they said would have compromised the independence of the journal, one of the most highly respected peer-reviewed publications of its kind in the country.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) brought together a coalition of 38 public health, labor and environmental groups to file comments opposing the privatization proposal. The coalition maintained that a privately owned journal would not be as credible as a publicly owned one.

Below is a statement by Dr. Jennifer Sass, an NRDC senior scientist.

"Dr. Schwartz did the right thing today by keeping the journal public. Privately owned science journals are vulnerable to pressure from advertisers and are less able to maintain the independence that a publicly owned, nonprofit publication can.

"The journal will be shrinking its science news section, unfortunately, because of budget constraints. Congress needs to boost funding for the publication to enable it to continue to provide high quality, freely available, cutting edge dispatches from the scientific community. This is an invaluable public resource, and it deserves to be protected."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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