Re: NANFA-L-- OT, frog researcher silenced (from CNAH)

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- OT, frog researcher silenced (from CNAH)
dlmcneely at
Date: Wed Oct 27 2004 - 10:55:27 CDT

This is not really OT. Consulting recent cladistic classification shows that frogs are in the Sarcopterygii (along with other amphibians, reptiles, mammals (including good ole _Homo_), birds (smile). Are we cladists on NANFA?

More seriously, this is on topic, because it relates directly to environmental quality, and fish and frogs occur in much of the same habitat. And fish have been shown to be susceptible to some of the same teratogens as amphibians, though I know of no study of fish responses to atrazine.

I do know of studies of economic and industrial concern's responses to reports of pollution.

David L. McNeely, Ph.D., Professor of Biology
Langston University; P.O. Box 1500
Langston, OK 73050; email: dlmcneely at
telephone: (405) 466-6025; fax: 405) 466-3307
home page

"Where are we going?" "I don't know, are we there yet?"

----- Original Message -----
From: Bruce Stallsmith <fundulus at>
Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 10:26 am
Subject: NANFA-L-- OT, frog researcher silenced (from CNAH)

> If you thought researching environmental affects on frogs is an
> obscure
> topic no one cares about, you're wrong, unfortunately. The
> following is from
> the Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH).
> --Bruce Stallsmith
> still lots of frogs in the Tennessee Valley, I think
> Huntsville, AL, US of A
> The Center for North American Herpetology
> Lawrence, Kansas
> 27 October 2004
> Minnesota Cancels Speech about Frogs
> Speech was to be about possible Atrazine links to Frog Abonormalities
> Tom Meersman
> Star Tribune
> 24 October 2004
> A scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, was to be
> keynotespeaker at an upcoming conference sponsored by the
> Minnesota Pollution
> Control
> Agency. Then state officials learned the topic of his speech: his
> latestresearch
> linking the herbicide atrazine to frog abnormalities.
> Now, Prof. Tyrone Hayes has been uninvited -- by order of the agency's
> commissioner.
> Hayes, an endocrinologist who studies how chemicals affect
> amphibians, won't
> address the annual environmental conference in February even
> though his
> research is of particular interest in the state where
> schoolchildren
> discovered
> frogs with extra legs and other deformities nine years ago.
> Hayes said his removal from the program is an act of censorship by
> a state
> agency bowing to agricultural interests and pesticide companies
> that don't
> like
> his findings. "Initially, before the MPCA uninvited me, they asked
> if I
> would
> remove the words 'atrazine' and 'pesticide' from the title of my
> talk, and
> of
> course I refused to do that because that's what I work on," said
> Hayes.
> "My response was either you want me to talk or you don't," he said.
> MPCA Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan said nobody is trying to keep Hayes'
> message "out of the press or out of the mainstream." She said she
> wanted a
> different speaker because Hayes presented some of his findings
> earlier this
> year
> in Minnesota, and his research has received wide attention.
> "When I looked at the stuff that he's talked about in the past,
> and his
> research
> to date, I just didn't think it was keynote material," Corrigan said.
> E-mails between Hayes and an MPCA staffer, obtained by the Star
> Tribune,
> tell a
> different story.
> Hayes' contact was Jennifer Anthony-Powell, the agency's meeting
> planner and
> coordinator for the three-day Minnesota air, water and waste
> conference. The
> event, to be held in Bloomington, typically draws 1,100 people
> from industry
> and
> government.
> After being asked to give the keynote address, Hayes corresponded with
> Anthony-Powell during August about the details of the conference.
> However,
> on
> Sept. 27 Anthony-Powell sent Hayes an e-mail expressing the need
> to
> "reassure
> management" about the keynote speech. "Politically speaking -- it
> sounds
> like it
> is the atrazine that is causing some concern from other agencies,"
> she
> wrote.
> She asked whether Hayes could make his title more general, because
> "I'mthinking that might alleviate some of the political power
> plays going on."
> She
> concluded, "I'm trying to stay ahead of the game so it doesn't get
> out of
> hand."
> Hayes asked by e-mail for more information about the concerns of MPCA
> managers.
> Anthony-Powell responded on Sept. 28: "Atrazine, atrazine,
> atrazine. This
> isn't
> a
> Dept. of Ag. conference and they are thinking there is a
> possibility that
> they
> are
> going to be attacked and not present to defend themselves."
> Anthony-Powell
> said there was concern that Hayes' talk might become "anti-
> government."
> In an interview Tuesday, Anthony-Powell said that Wayne Anderson,
> an
> official in
> the MPCA commissioner's office, had approached her and raised
> these
> concerns.
> Anderson, who is the agency's liaison with the Minnesota Agriculture
> Department, could not be reached for comment.
> Hayes immediately responded to the Sept. 28 e-mail. He said that
> his data
> had
> been published by top scientific journals. He acknowledged that he
> has been
> critical of government approaches to pesticide regulations, and he
> offered
> to
> share the keynote speech with government and industry representatives.
> Hayes, a professor in Berkeley's Department of Integrative
> Biology, said
> that
> some of his latest research suggests new ways that pesticides,
> includingatrazine, may cause development problems in amphibians.
> "I will of course
> talk
> about this because it is important ... and it seems the government
> does not
> want
> people to know," he said in the e-mail.
> On Sept. 29 MPCA officials called Hayes and withdrew the
> invitation to
> speak.
> Corrigan said that she did not consult with state agriculture
> officials
> about
> Hayes' planned speech.
> "My decision was not about agriculture," she said in a statement.
> "It was
> not
> about Professor Hayes personally. It was all about having the
> right keynote
> set
> the stage for this important conference."
> Scientific understanding about atrazine's potential effects on
> frogs is a
> work
> in
> progress. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials reviewed
> 17 studies
> on
> the topic in 2003, including two by Hayes and 12 funded by the
> pesticideindustry. They found insufficient data "to indicate that
> atrazine will or
> will
> not
> cause adverse developmental effects in amphibians."
> Corrigan added that Hayes is welcome to attend future conferences
> if he has
> new data, but "from what I have been able to discern, his research
> today is
> the
> same as it was in February 2004" when he gave a presentation on a
> panel at
> the
> last MPCA conference. However, Corrigan said that she had not
> talked with
> Hayes to ask him directly about his latest research.
> Hayes said he intended to speak at the conference about some of
> the research
> in four new papers that will be published soon in scientific
> journals. This
> summer
> he did field work along areas of the Upper Mississippi River,
> including in
> Wisconsin. He has also been studying the North Platte and Missouri
> rivers,
> with
> a
> focus on examining the health of amphibians and correlating it
> with
> pesticide
> levels in the water.
> Hayes will discuss some of that work at a special legislative
> hearing before
> the
> state Senate's Environment and Natural Resources committee on
> Monday. His
> trip is being sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Environmental
> Advocacy,
> a
> group that has been critical of pesticide use and regulation in
> the state.
> Meanwhile, the new keynote speaker for the MPCA conference hasn't been
> named.
> Thanks to HerpDigest for alerting CNAH to this topic.
> _________________________________________________________________
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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:54 CST