Washington, D.C. – Today the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services  seeking answers on the relationship between the Obama National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) and Italy’s Ramazzini Institute (IBR). The IBR, and its affiliate the Collegium Ramazzini, the received $92 million dollars worth of contracts and grants during the Obama Administration, part of almost $315 million paid to them since 1985. Yet it is unclear what work of substance they have provided. Indeed EPA has even promised not to use their studies after deep methodological flaws were pointed out by the National Toxicology Program.

E&E Legal has been working to uncover the answers to these questions ever since a brief release in October 2015 of an EPA report saying the herbicide glyphosate is probably not carcinogenic — the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) report— which the Agency quickly took down from its website claiming it hadn’t meant to publish the paper. This determination ran contrary to the claims of the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC), which has been working to undermine the established science on the safety of glysophate. IARC’s report on the issue was drafted with the participation of a host of authors affiliated with the Collegium Ramazzini, which is affiliated with IBR.

E&E Legal has sent FOIA requests to NIEHS, and to the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking copies of the of grants and contracts awarded to IBR and the Collegium Ramazzini, as well as  more information on what IBR has actually produced for the money it has received, and on the relationships between some agency employees, IBR, and IARC.  Unfortunately E&E Legal has been forced to file suit repeatedly, including several in recent weeks, to get answers to these requests, as agencies have ignored requests or stonewalled.

Previously the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has asked NIH for more details about its financial support for IARC, and E&E Legal has obtained correspondence from IARC author, member of the Collegium Ramazzini (and Environmental Defense Fund-affiliated) Chris Portier, which appears to suggest to an EPA political official the CARC report was interfering with his efforts to ban glyphosate in Europe.  Since that time, EPA and now the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) both concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk.

“E&E Legal has been forced to repeatedly sue EPA and HHS due to the unwillingness of the agencies to reveal to the public the extent of their relationship with the Ramazzini Institute” said E&E Legal President Craig Richardson. “All of these agencies use of taxpayer dollars to fund IBR and IARC are of increasing public interest and importance, as the concerns raised by Chairman Smith show. The taxpayer has a right to the details and extent of this relationship. The endless delays and intransigence we have faced from these agencies  should be deeply distressing to all concerned with transparency in government. Hopefully this letter by Chairman Smith and the House Science Committee will spur the agencies to be more honest and forthcoming about the extent of this  one-sided relationship.”

About EE Legal

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.