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SST Committee Probes NIEHS Contract, Grant Recipients

Mar 24, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON- U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price requesting documents and information on certain National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) contract and grant recipients.

“The Committee is investigating the scientific integrity of the work performed by NIEHS contract and grant recipients.  According to public records, the Ramazzini Institute, an independent international science academy that conducts cancer related studies, benefited from at least seven sole source government contracts.  The Committee is concerned that contracts awarded to the Ramazzini Institute and its affiliates may not meet adequate scientific integrity standards.  Additionally, these sole source contracts raise questions about the integrity of the acquisition process at NIH and NEIHS.  We are writing to request documents and information to determine whether NIEHS is complying with all federal acquisition regulations and ensuring award recipients are adhering to the utmost standards of scientific integrity.   

“According to a March 17, 2017, media report, Italy’s Ramazzini Institute has received at least thirteen different NIEHS contracts through four different third parties since 2009, totaling nearly $2 million.   Of the thirteen contracts, seven appear to be sole source, representing over $1 million taxpayer dollars.  Further, media reports indicate that since 2009 NIEHS has directed as least $92 million in grant funds to the Ramazzini Institute and its U.S. affiliate.  If true, this raises serious questions about the integrity of the acquisition process at NIEHS,” the letter states.

Today’s letter requests a briefing on this matter and communications and materials related to the scientific integrity of the work performed by certain NIEHS contractors and grant recipients to ensure proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars and sound science.

The letter can be found here.

Background

In 2012, the committee wrote the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding specific Ramazzini studies EPA relied on when conducting chemical risk assessments.  According to the EPA, agency scientists “identified discrepancies in the results of methanol studies conducted by the Ramazzini Institute.”  As a result, EPA placed the four draft assessments that relied on the Ramazzini studies on hold, pending further review. 

115th Congress