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EPA revises interest conflict review

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The Environmental Protection Agency said it has improved its review of conflict of interest for contractor-managed peer reviews.

The EPA said it has put in place an oversight process to ensure that contractors are following guidance and requirements that are already in place at the agency. The public will be able to review and comment on the composition of a peer review panel "when influential scientific documents are being considered."

"We are committed to scientific integrity at EPA," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "Improving the contract-managed peer review process and increasing transparency will lead to stronger science at the agency."

The process will apply to future technical documents that designated as Influential Scientific Information or Highly Influential Scientific Assessment when the peer review process is handled by independent contractors. Names, affiliations and resumes of independent contractor candidates will be made available to the public before the peer review panel is selected.

A project by PBS and the Center for Public Integrity earlier this year revealed one in six EPA peer review panels had ties to the American Chemistry Council, a group that lobbies for the chemical industry.