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Scientists grow disillusioned waiting for 'clear guidance' from Obama administration

William Hirzy, a former U.S. EPA chemist, has a favorite example when discussing the role of science in government policy: fluoride in drinking water. His view -- and that of the EPA chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union -- is that the chemical can be dangerous, possibly increasing the risk of bone cancer in young boys. But EPA has yet to change its 4-milligrams-per-liter drinking water standard (though a spokesman said the agency is "actively moving ahead" with an assessment). Hirzy worries that EPA officials are dragging their feet because the U.S. Public Health Service has long touted fluoride as a beneficial additive to drinking water. And to him, that slow response is indicative of the Obama administration's failure to fulfill its promise of scientific integrity in federal agencies.

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