The co-Editors-in-Chief of Environmental Health respond to an unusual initiative taken by editors of 14 toxicology journals to influence pending decisions by the European Commission to establish a framework for regulating chemicals that pose a hazard to normal function of the endocrine system. This initiative is also the subject of today's Commentary in this journal by authors who recently reviewed the subject and who point out inaccuracies in the toxicology editors' critique. The dispute is about potential public policy development, rather than on science translation and research opportunities and priorities. The toxicology journal editors recommend that chemicals be examined in depth one by one, ignoring modern achievements in biomedical research that would allow new understanding of the effects of classes of toxic substances in complex biological systems. Concerns about policy positions framed as scientific ones are especially important in a time with shrinking public support for biomedical research affects priorities. In such a setting, conflict of interest declarations are important, especially in research publications that address issues of public concern and where financial and other interests may play a role. Science relies on trust, and reasonable disclosure of financial or other potential conflicts is therefore essential. This need has been emphasized by recent discoveries of hidden financial conflicts in publications in toxicology journals, thus misleading readers and the public about the safety of particular industrial products. The transparency provided by Environmental Health includes open access and open peer review, with reader access to reviews, including the identity of reviewers and their statements on possible conflicts of interest. However, the editors of the 14 toxicology journals did not provide any information on potential conflicts of interest, an oversight that needs to be corrected.
Environmental Health: a Global Access Science Source, 2013, Vol 12, Issue 70