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Celia Wexler

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About the author: Celia Wexler is a senior Washington representative for the Scientific Integrity Initiative at UCS. A former award-winning journalist, Wexler is the author of Out of the News: Former Journalists Discuss a Profession in Crisis, published in 2012 by McFarland. At UCS, Wexler’s issue portfolio includes food and drug safety, protections for scientist whistleblowers, and government transparency and accountability. See Celia's full bio.

Spring Brings Hope–Even about Transparency and Accountability in Government

There is some good, albeit modest, news about the Food and Drug Administration and the way the agency addresses conflicts of interest on FDA advisory panels that consider the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices. Read More

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Thanks to You, We Won The “Sound Science” Battle

Yesterday, I was feeling both cynical and depressed about the state of affairs in Washington. The farm bill had been approved, but certainly it wasn’t the ideal. While urging passing of the bill, our Food and Environment program, while appreciative of some of the progress it made, acknowledged its limitations and its unfulfilled potential. Many of us also are keenly aware that food stamp cuts of billions of dollars may compromise the well-being of tens of thousands of American families. Read More

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Finding Glimmers of Hope on Capitol Hill

The holidays are always a good time to take stock of the year, and to be grateful for the good things that happened. Although the media has labeled this the “do nothing” Congress, the news wasn’t all bad. Read More

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Don’t Mix Politics and Public Protections: Delays Harm Us All

For years, UCS has been making the case that science should inform the work of federal agencies, and that agency policies and rules should not be subject to political and corporate interference. When President George W. Bush was in office, the extent of that interference was quite blatant. John Graham, then head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an obscure but powerful office within the Office of Management and Budget, did all he could to displace science and permit corporate pressure on the rulemaking process. Read More

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Lumps of Coal in the House-Passed Farm Bill

There’s an old and well honored legislative strategy of tucking otherwise unacceptable and noxious proposals into must-pass bills. The hope is that House and Senate members, seeking compromise on a final piece of legislation, may be so relieved to get a deal on the big-ticket items that some of the smaller bits can get through, too. Read More

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Editorial Writers Consider the Water Crisis, Informed by UCS Experts

I was in Newport, Rhode Island for a conference of the Association of Opinion Journalists October 13 through 16. It was wonderful to escape the fog of Capitol Hill and be in the company of rational, thoughtful people who did not dispute the reality of human-caused climate change. Read More

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When the Government Shuts Down, So Does Federal Science

When you work in DC, the ongoing drama of the budget stalemate and government shutdown is a part of your daily life.  The metro is emptier, traffic is lighter, and all our wonderful museums and monuments are closed. Read More

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How to Improve the Chemical Safety Improvement Act

This year, after years of inaction, there is some hope that Congress may find a bipartisan solution to our chemical safety problem. As my two earlier posts have noted, our current law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is virtually powerless to protect us from unsafe chemicals. In contrast, the European Union’s regulatory regimen, REACH, Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals, requires that chemicals produced in certain volumes (more than a ton annually) must provide safety data that demonstrates that they will not harm the public or the environment. The law, implemented in 2007, is being phased in over 11 years. Read More

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A Chemical Safety Law That Works for the People

Remember the precautionary principle?  It’s the approach that says that even when the science is uncertain about the harm a product or technology may cause, we should take steps to prevent the public and the environment from being exposed to that harm, until its safety can be demonstrated. It is the job of the business that wants to use or sell the product to prove that it is not harmful. Read More

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Our Chemical Safety Law Fails to Protect Us

It’s after Labor Day. You’re thinking about getting the kids back to school, resuming your doctoral studies, or just gearing up after vacation for a busy September. The last thing you want to think about is the soup of hazardous chemicals you’re exposed to every day. For more than 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has largely pursued the “ignorance is bliss” approach. That wasn’t the agency’s fault. It’s been rendered virtually impotent by TSCA. Not the opera, the Toxic Substances Control Act. Read More

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