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CONTROVERSIAL EPA REPORT SPARKS TWO CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS

 Agriculture Subcommittee Calls on EPA to Answer Critics
 While EPA Continues to Call for Smoking Restrictions
 WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tobacco Institute issued the following:
 Critical testimony from prominent scientists about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's report on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) was heard today in a congressional hearing before the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and Natural Resources.
 According to Chairman Charles Rose (D-N.C.): "Critics contend that EPA's conclusions about the health effects of ETS are unsound, that the agency manipulated the statistics, ignored relevant data that disagreed with its conclusions and flouted its own guidelines. In the view of these critics, EPA has in this case, as it has in many others, sacrificed science to its own predetermined policy goals."
 The other hearing, held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment and chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), heard EPA Administrator Carol Browner suggest far- reaching smoking restrictions. According to the administrator, "The EPA recommends that people not smoke in their home or permit others to do so."
 Released in January 1993, the EPA risk assessment on ETS has been almost as widely criticized as it has been cited by anti-smoking activists and others seeking stringent anti-smoking policies and smoking bans in public places.
 Today, the agriculture subcommittee heard testimony from the former director of the Veterans Administration's Agent Orange Research and Education program, Maurice LeVois, Ph.D. Calling the EPA's risk assessment "contrary to accepted statistical methodology," LeVois warned the subcommittee that "EPA's ETS risk assessment should not be relied upon as an unbiased estimate of the risk of ETS exposure because it exploits flawed data and employs biased, unscientific methods."
 Meanwhile, at a simultaneous hearing chaired by Waxman, Dr. Gio Batta Gori, former director of the Smoking and Health Program at the National Cancer Institute and currently a consultant in toxicology, expressed concern about "what the agency staff acknowledges was `fancy statistical footwork.'" Gori testified that the EPA "doubled the statistical `confidence interval' from the standard 5 percent margin usually posted -- and employed in early drafts of the EPA report -- to a 10 percent margin. Naturally, as of by magic, the results became statistically significant. Yet what any self-respecting scientist would perceive here is not confidence intervals but rather a confidence game."
 Gori warned the subcommittee: "Scientists who review the EPA report disagree privately with its conclusions, even though they feel the need to agree in public with an agency that influences much of the research funds they obtain. Many of these scientists have strong ties to militant anti-smoking organizations. EPA and its associates must believe that the end justifies whatever means in the crusade against tobacco. But who could feel safe if such legalized presumptions were tolerated? In the end, who shall control the controllers?"
 Gori and LeVois were asked by The Tobacco Institute to explain their concerns about the ETS risk assessment. Their views, however, are their own and do not necessarily represent those of The Tobacco Institute.
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Lauria of The Tobacco Institute, 800-424-9876 or 202-457-9387/


CO: The Tobacco Institute; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA TOB SU: EXE

TW-MH -- DC005 -- 3843 07/21/93 10:13 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 21, 1993
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