In February we FOIA-ed EPA for an explanation of why/how a report describing an illegal experiment exposing children to diesel exhaust was deleted from its data base. EPA responded to our request today.
You can read the EPA’s response (collection of e-mails between technical staff) for yourself, but the bottom line appears to be:
- JunkScience did not imagine the deletion. The deletion did in fact occur;
- The deletion was unusual. It was the first deletion of its kind in the EPA databases’s 13 years of existence; and
- The miscreant remains undiscovered. Although the mechanics of the deletion are understood, no one knows what caused it to occur.
- Cover-up? An EPA higher-up stated, “this situation is very disconcerting in that [EPA Research Triangle Park staff] as of yet has no idea what caused the problem to occur in the first place.”
It should also be noted that several efforts to learn more about the study from the University of Southern California, where the experiment seems to have occurred, have gone unacknowledged/unanswered.