Comments opened on the recent EPA nominations to serve on the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) established under section 25(d) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), since three member terms will expire during the next year.

The name at number 7 on the list(1) is of particular concern, because he would be serving on an EPA SAP after stating that the EPA SAP once called about a study he got published in PNAS was collaborating with pesticide companies. That, coupled with his reputation as a serial misogynist, would be an unneeded distraction for an advisory body that is supposed to be neutral arbiters of science issues.

For that reason, I recommended he not be among the three selected.

My comment is reproduced below but two footnotes are not in the comment, since (1) is the EPA list of nominees itself and (2) it seems unkind to torment women at Syngenta who were harassed repeatedly by Hayes by adding them into an EPA document.

OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001.

Subject: Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0448

Professor Tyrone Hayes of Berkeley, #7, is not a good choice for this EPA SAP because his seminal work, which caused an EPA SAP to be called, has never been validated. It was not even used in the SAP his work caused to be called because he refused to turn over his data to EPA, claiming that EPA was colluding with pesticide companies. That is a not a constructive voice for an advisory body. As has been well documented, he has an agenda against a particular company and his reputation for sexual harassment (http://gawker.com/5620781/dr-tyrone-hayes-biologist-cock-fixated-megalom...) against females of Syngenta (now ChemChina) would be a distraction from the mission of the SAP. The story would instead be advocates for women talking on social media about why the administration is giving a position of importance to a scientist who regards women so poorly.

He is also frequently sent on trips funded by groups like Pesticide Action Network, against products the SAP could be called on to investigate. That is a conflict of interest.

Why He Matters

In 2002 Professor Hayes and a group of his subordinates got a paper titled "Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses" published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (http://www.pnas.org/content/99/8/5476.full.pdf). It claimed that field level exposures of an herbicide, atrazine, was resulting in the vocal abilities of frogs being warped. As frogs are an indicator species, this low dose result caused a great deal of concern, but to scientists "Subtle Effects" is codeword for homeopathy so there was interest in seeing his data and replicating his work. He refused to share his data and his result was not replicated.

As later exposed by the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/articles/hank-campbell-the-corruption-of-peer-revi...), his paper was not peer-reviewed, it was hand-walked past peer review by a member of the Academy. His friend David Wake, whose wife was running Hayes' department, used a then-existing "courtesy" mechanism to review the paper himself (they changed that policy a few weeks after the WSJ story - http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/10/pnas-narrows-pathway-to-publication...). Wake never asked Hayes to include the data, which any independent peer reviewer would have done. After the paper came out concluding that frog sexualization was being harmed by the Syngenta product named atrazine, and EPA convened a SAP, EPA did its own analysis and concluded there was no basis for the claims made by Hayes. They couldn't even use his paper, because he refused to show it to them. The science community concluded that Hayes likely made statistical errors that were not caught and does not want his paper retracted.

Anne Lindsay, Deputy Director of the Office of. Pesticide Programs (OPP) at the US Environmental Protection Agency, even said of the claims by Professor Hayes after the SAP was called due to his allegations, “It has been claimed that research on frogs shows that atrazine causes changes in the production of aromatase, an enzyme that is involved in the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. It has also been claimed that other scientists have shown similar effects in other species … There is no direct scientific information to assess this hypothesis.”

EPA is already under constant attack and there is no reason to add a lightning-rod to what should be a neutral SAP by including someone who has a political, cultural, and scientific agenda against the products he would need to investigate.

Respectfully,

Hank Campbell
Science 2.0

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NOTES:

(1) 

1. Jeffrey Bloomquist, Ph.D.: Professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

2. Maria Braga, D.D.S., Ph.D.: Professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

3. Joseph Braun, R.N., M.S.P.H., Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

4. Celia Chen, Ph.D.: Director, Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and Research Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

5. Susan Fisher, Ph.D.: Professor Emerita, Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

6. Jean Harry, M.S., Ph.D.: Group Leader, Neurotoxicology Laboratory, National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.Start Printed Page 39835

7. Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D.: Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California.

8. Lucille Lange, Ph.D.: Research Psychologist, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

9. James Lauderdale, Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

10. Maureen Lichtveld, M.D., M.P.H.: Professor and Chair, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

11. Lorenz Neuwirth, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience Research Institute, State University of New York (SUNY), Old Westbury, New York.
12. Edna Pereira, Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director, Division of Translational Toxicology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
13. Rebecca Smith, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.: Assistant Professor, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
14. John Swaddle, Ph.D.: Professor and Chair, Biology Department, College of William&Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.

15. Christopher Weis, Ph.D.: Toxicology Liaison, National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

(2) 

Just one example, but his chronic abuse of women working for Syngenta became legend, at least among those of us who didn't have to live it. If he did it today, Berkeley might be forced to take action, though that is unclear, since women working in the private sector don't get the same respect by Berkeley as those they would have to see in the hallway.