Michael Gough

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dr Michael Gough (PhD, Brown University) is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and was director of science and risk studies there until 1999. He is a vocal critic of "assumption-based risk assessment", and actively promotes biotechnology. He is a former staff member at the National Institutes of Health and the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and previously taught microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and SUNY-Stony Brook.

According to a biographical profile in a 2002 report he co-authored, Gough "taught microbiology and did research in molecular biology for about 10 years, during which time, he was a Fulbright lecturer in Peru and India".

"In the last two decades, he has worked in environmental health risk assessment at the U.S. congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he managed the Biological and Behavioral Sciences Program, and middleof-the-road and libertarian think tanks, his profile states.

"In his opinion, health risk assessment is a straw house erected on a sand foundation. Estimated health risks are (almost always, or, perhaps, always) too small to be detected (let alone measured), even if the risks are realized. Perversely, the impossibility of measurement is taken as sufficient reason to invoke the precautionary principle and to regulate, restrict, label, or boycott. Risk assessment is science turned on its head. The essence of science is measurement; the essence of risk assessment is estimation and policybased assumption," his profile states.

Gough is a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, current vice-president of the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

He has written "more than 40 papers and newspaper pieces about risk assessment" as well as authoring Dioxin, Agent Orange (Plenum Press, 1986), co-editing Readings in Risk (Johns Hopkins, 1990), and co-authoring with Steve Milloy of Silencing Science (Cato, 1999).

Documents & Timeline

1994 Aug A Alexis de Tocqueville report "The EPA and the Science of ETS" has been funded by the Tobacco Institute. The author was Adjunct Scholar Kent Jeffreys, and the senior reviewer was S. Fred Singer, a Professor of Environmental Science (on leave from the University of Virginia) and a Senior Fellow at the Institute. The final report was scheduled to be complete mid-June and it would be entitled "Science and Environmentalism".

A confidential memo by the president of the Tobacco Institute, Samuel D. Chilcote, Jr., described how this secret tobacco-funded report was being used in legislative lobbying:

This morning Reps. Peter Geren (D-TX) and John Mica (R-FL) held a press conference announcing the release of a study by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution that evaluates the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) scientific principles used to justify policy decisions. Geren and Mica were joined by Cesar Conda, executive director of the de Tocqueville Institution and coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Kent Jeffreys." [1]

"Press coverage included States News Service, Stephens Publishing and Cable Congress. Several congressional staffers also attended, copies of the Geren/Mica "Dear Colleague" letter, press release and the study are enclosed."


This report is part of a larger coordinated effort to blindside the EPA. A "panel of experts" was assembled to "peer-review" the report. Naturally the majority were people with identified links to tobacco-funded institutes and think tanks, and some who share the same small set of funders.

Academic Advisory Board:

Senior Staff and Contributing Associates
Rachael Applegate,   Bruce Bartlett,   Merrick Carey,   Cesar Conda,   Gregory Fossedal,   Dave Juday,   Felix Rouse,   Aaron Stevens

Ten of the 19 names of the Academic Advisory Board are members of the Cash for Comments Economists Network. At this time S. Fred Singer was a Senior Fellow at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, but they chose not to credit him with such close links.

These attempt to link the tobacco industry's problems to arguments about climate change were part funded by the Olin Foundation, Koch Family Foundations and Scaife Foundations.

  • 20 page Draft document sent to the Tobacco Institute [3]
  • The release about the final report (August 11 1994) It is now an attack on "environmental regulation" -- ETS, radon, pesticides and agricultural regulation, and the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program ... and based, supposedly, on the quality of the science used by the EPA. [4]
  • The final report was called Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination.' It had the approval of the Cash for Comments Economists Network. [5]

Other SourceWatch resources

External links