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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

JAMA: Poster Child for OMB Peer Review Guidelines
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article about the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) that contained numerous factual errors as well as considerable political propaganda.

A crucial, obvious error in the article was the assertion that atrazine is being phased out by the European Union because “Atrazine...has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a potent endocrine disruptor....” JAMA’s peer review process accepted this claim even though the Official Journal of the European Union explicitly stated that “In the 70s, a political decision was taken to reduce to ‘zero’ the presence of pesticides, independent of their toxicity.”

The JAMA article also incorrectly states that “[a]trazine is already classified as an established animal carcinogen and hence a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.” In fact, IARC classifies atrazine as “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.” Furthermore, the IARC Monograph on atrazine explains that with regard to animal tests, “[T]here is strong evidence that the mechanism by which atrazine increases the incidence of mammary gland tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats is not relevant to humans.”

The JAMA article contains another significant error – it states that the Data Quality Act (DQA) was not subject to Congressional hearings. The DQA was discussed at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on March 28, 2000. House Report 106-758 of July 18, 2000 – almost five months before the DQA was passed – included a section with the bold heading Data Quality that stated the “Committee has included statutory language (Section 515) which requires the Office of Management and Budget to develop...guidelines...for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information disseminated by Federal fulfillment of the purposes and provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.” It was irresponsible for Dr. Rosenstock, with JAMA review, to publish the statements she made regarding the legislative history of the DQA/PRA without making any attempt to actually research the legislative history.

If JAMA had complied with OMB peer review guidelines, they would have caught the errors in the Rosenstock article.

Consequently, JAMA should adopt the OMB peer review guidelines in their review of articles, and, at a minimum:

l. Identify the peer reviewers of articles;

2. Disclose the views of the peer reviewers; and

3. Publish an amended version of the Rosentock article that complies with the Data Quality Act.

  • Click to read Summary of Errors in JAMA article
  • Click to read CRE-revised Wikipedia article on peer review
  • Click to read OMB Peer Review Guidelines
  • Click to read CRE White Paper on atrazine and Hayes tests