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The Not-So-Sweet Relief: How The Soda Industry Is Influencing Medical Organizations

Guest Bogger

Richard Bruno, MD and Kevin Burns, MD
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Baltimore, MD

With increasing scrutiny over the dire health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, soda manufacturers have turned to obscuring the science, confusing the consumer, and sponsoring medical organizations whose recommendations influence both providers and patients. Unfortunately these corporate partnerships are conflicts of interest that undermine the credibility of the organizations and stymie reform. Read More

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ALEC Can’t Deny Its Record of Climate Change Disinformation

Faced with an ongoing exodus of corporate funders — News Corp and Occidental Petroleum are among the latest departures — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is suddenly in a hurry to hide its long history of denying the reality of climate change.

But there’s no hiding the fact that ALEC has fought for decades to inappropriately sow doubt around the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that its cause is largely man-made, and that we need to do something about it. Read More

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Want to Talk to a Scientist in Canada? Don’t Look to the Federal Government

If you want to talk to a scientist in Canada who works for the government, you might be in for a long wait. That’s the takeaway from a new report that grades the communications policies of 12 Canadian government agencies, which found that many current policies hinder “open and timely communication” between government scientists and reporters, and do little to protect scientists’ free speech rights. Read More

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Science Diplomacy and Subtle Ways of Discouraging International Collaboration

Yellow fever killed hundreds of thousands of people and sickened many more throughout the 19th Century, and nobody knew for sure how it was spread or how to contain it. It was the most dreaded disease in the Americas, creating mass panic and destroying commerce. Read More

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A Funny Thing Happened at the Fish and Wildlife Service: The Wolverine Endangered Species Listing

What does the wolverine have to do with climate change? No, the X-men haven’t decided to #ActOnClimate (yet), but the two are very much related.  Wolverines are mammals that live in snowy terrain of the mountain West, and they are currently threatened by climate change, at least according to some scientists. But if you ask the decision makers at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), you might get a different story. Read More

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Update: EPA Will Review Troublesome Communications Policy for Independent Science Advisory Board

Last week, UCS joined other science and journalism organizations in a letter to the EPA expressing concern about how a new policy might limit the ability of independent scientists who advise the agency to speak publicly about their scientific research and opinions in a personal capacity, particularly the scientists who serve on its Science Advisory Board. Read More

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Is EPA Excessively Restricting Access to its Science Advisory Board Members?

UCS learned recently that at a closed-door meeting of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) on July 24, the EPA put forward a new memorandum from EPA Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming that seems to extend free speech restrictions to independent scientists who advise the agency. The memo is written in a way that could discourage scientists from informing public discussion around important topics. Read More

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. Read More

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The Endangered Species Act under Attack: Science, Politics, and the Real Meaning of Transparency

The cartoon below has never been more appropriate. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is attacked by political interests with some regularity, but the current proposal from the House Natural Resources Committee threatens to halt much of the science-based work that the law has enabled. Read More

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“Hide No Harm” Bill Will Tip the Balance in Favor of Science and Safety over Corporate Profits

On July 16, Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tom Harkin (IA) and Robert Casey (PA) introduced S. 2615, the “Hide No Harm Act.” Their legislation would impose criminal penalties—fines and even imprisonment—on corporate executives if they knowingly failed to warn the public about life-threatening dangers in their products. Read More

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