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Date: Sept. 5, 2008
Contacts: Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer
Alison Burnette, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Drafts of Unofficial Report Looking at
Have Limited Scientific Quality and Usefulness, IOM Review Finds
Questions about the scientific quality of the drafts and concern following the unauthorized publication of one of the interim drafts on a public Web site led CDC to ask the IOM for an independent review of the documents. The drafts originated with an international commission's request for CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to evaluate the public health implications of hazardous materials present in certain areas within
"We found problems in how each draft was developed, which data were used, and what conclusions the authors drew," said Robert Wallace, Irene Ensminger Stecher Professor of Epidemiology and Internal Medicine,
Most of the concerns about the 2007 draft raised by CDC's peer reviewers and ATSDR directors -- particularly how data were selected and used -- are valid, the committee concluded. Pollution and health data were lumped together despite differences in where and when the information was collected and despite lack of supporting evidence or explanation of how particular contaminants could lead to any of the identified health problems, the report says. This juxtaposition of data without explanation or support could lead readers to assume links between contamination and health problems regardless of whether they actually exist. Furthermore, some data that might have provided useful evidence apparently were not considered, and the drafts contained little explanation for why the data used were chosen.
The 2008 draft provides only a summary of selected data on chemical releases and contamination and does not add substantially to the understanding of pollution around the
Many of the drafts' problems seem to stem from lack of a clear statement about what each draft was intended to achieve and a clear outline of its approach. The IOM committee noted that the original request for a study could have been interpreted in more than one way; neither draft offered an explanation of how the request was interpreted.
The study was sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the
Pre-publication copies of Review of ATSDR's Great Lakes Reports -- Letter Report are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).
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[ This news release and report are available at http://national-academies.org ]
Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice
Committee on the Review of ATSDR's Great
Robert B. Wallace, M.D. (chair)
Irene Ensminger Stecher Professor of Epidemiology
and Internal Medicine
Department of Epidemiology
John Besley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science and Risk Communication
Edmund A.C. Crouch, Ph.D.
Francesca Dominici, Ph.D.
Department of Biostatistics
Marion F. Ehrich, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
S. Katharine Hammond, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Environmental Health Sciences Division
David A. Kalman, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Susan A. Korrick, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Marie C. McCormick, M.D., Sc.D.
Summer and Esther Feldberg
Professor of Maternal and Child Health
Department of Society, Human Development, and Health
Patricia A. Nolan, M.D., M.P.H.
Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Health
Department of Community Health
Marguerite R. Seeley, Ph.D.
Study Director, Ph.D.