Science for Hire Comes Under Fire

Cartoon doctorThe U.S. Congress is investigating the Weinberg Group, a science consulting firm that promises to help clients "clear regulatory hurdles and defend products in the court and media." Representative John Dingell (Democrat of Michigan) said the firm's practices "raise serious issues about whether science is for sale." The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which Dingell chairs, has asked the firm for records of its work on Bisphenol A and other chemicals. Some studies have linked Bisphenol A, which is present in a wide range of plastics, to cancer and hormone disruptions. In 2006, Paul D. Thacker reported on a Weinberg Group memo in which the firm told the chemical company DuPont that it could help "shape the debate" about the safety of its products. "We will harness ... the scientific and intellectual capital of our company with one goal in mind -- creating the outcome our client desires," added the memo.