Letter of support for Dr. Per Eriksson, Uppsala University
Dr. Anders Hallberg
Vice-Chancellor, Uppsala University
Universitetsledningens kansli S:t Ologsg.10B
Box 256, 751 05 Uppsala, SWEDEN August 19, 2008.
Dear Dr. Hallberg,
The Council of the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society is writing in support of Dr. Per Eriksson, Professor, Department of Environmental Toxicology, Uppsala University. The Neurobehavioral Teratology Society is a professional organization with approximately 200 members from the government, academic, private, and industrial sectors.
The Council reviewed a letter written to you by Drs. Hardy and Zumstein from the Albemarle Corporation dated December 17, 2007, as well as several letters to the editor by these authors and responses from Dr. Eriksson. The NBTS Council believes the claims and accusations made in the letters lack scientific foundation and are inaccurate. Moreover, we deplore the tone of the accusations made against Dr. Eriksson in the letter from Albemarle Corporation.
We would like to specifically address Albemarle Corporation’s claim that all scientific studies should conform to the OECD and US EPA testing guidelines, a claim that is completely without merit. These guidelines were developed for the purpose of guiding study design, data interpretation, and reporting for regulatory risk assessment purposes. Such studies may be required for registration or re-registration of pesticides and industrial chemicals, but are not required for academic research. Academic laboratories are not required to use those regulatory testing guidelines and their studies are often aimed at more specific questions, including critical windows of exposure, mechanisms of action, or interaction of particular chemical agents. There is no “conventional” study design for these types of studies, only that they are designed to address the specific aim or hypothesis of the study. Dr. Eriksson’s studies have addressed many of the issues noted above and are not aimed at producing regulatory risk assessment data. The literature is replete with academic studies that do not address regulatory issues, but that often provide extremely important biological and toxicological data to guide the design and/or interpretation of regulatory studies.
The scientific process has always involved peer review and discussion of the pros and cons of various study designs, interpretation of data, etc., in the open literature and at scientific meetings. "Scientific misconduct" is a very serious allegation with very serious implications. Mere differences of opinion of reported adverse effects of a chemical do not provide a legitimate basis for accusing a researcher of "scientific misconduct." Albermarle Corporation's accusations of "scientific misconduct" against Dr. Ericksson are unsupported and deplorable. Given that Dr. Eriksson has provided the data requested, we expect that the company should have no further claims against him.
We appreciate the opportunity to write in support of Dr. Eriksson and are more than willing to provide additional information, if needed.
Mary Gilbert, PhD
2008 Neurobehavioral Teratology Society Council Members
Kimberly Grant, PhD, Susan Rice, PhD
Ed Levin, PhD, Cynthia Driscoll, PhD
Susan Melnick, PhD, Carole Kimmel, PhD
Sonya Sobrian, PhD, Frank Scalzo, PhD
Charles Vorhees, PhD, William Pizzi, PhD
Thomas Burbacher, PhD, Diana Dow-Edwards, PhD
Peter Fried, PhD, Lori Driscoll, PhD
Sherry Ferguson, PhD, Nellie Laughlin, PhD
Mary Jeanne Kallman, PhD, Melissa Bailey, PhD
Susan Rice, PhD
Cynthia Driscoll, PhD
Carole Kimmel, PhD
William Pizzi, PhD
Diana Dow-Edwards, PhD
Lori Driscoll, PhD
Nellie Laughlin, PhD
Melissa Bailey, PhD
Cc: Dr. Per Eriksson