New York Times: Chemical Industry Ally Faces Critics in Bid for Top E.P.A. Post


The scientist nominated to head the federal government’s chemical regulatory program has spent much of his career helping businesses fight restrictions on the use of potentially toxic compounds in consumer goods.

That record is expected to figure prominently in a Senate confirmation hearing for the scientist, Michael L. Dourson, who critics say is too closely tied to the chemical industry to be its chief regulator.


But Mr. Dourson’s financial disclosure report — filed after he was nominated — shows no direct payments to him from any chemical company, meaning any company-funded research Mr. Dourson did in the last year would likely have been paid for through the University of Cincinnati or another organization.

As a result, it is unlikely ethics rules would bar him from overseeing issues related to chemicals manufactured by companies he has conducted research for. Grants given by companies to universities, but not to the scholars themselves, generally do not create conflicts that require individuals to recuse themselves from matters involving the companies, said Walter Shaub, the former head of the federal Office of Government Ethics.

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