Embattled GWU Lead Researcher Responds
The last couple of weeks haven't been easy on Tee Guidotti. The professor in George Washington University's School of Public Health has been accused of serious ethical misdeeds regarding his 2007 study of environmental lead in D.C.—allegations which were aired in articles in Environmental Science and Technology and in the Washington Post.
LL "aggregated" both of those articles in his LL Daily roundup, which was enough to earn this e-missive from Guidotti, who is currently working in Saudi Arabia.
The City Paper recently ran a story that requires correction.
Over the last several weeks, my work and that of my colleagues on the public health implications of lead in drinking water has been attacked, distorted, and misrepresented. It has been alleged that we allowed WASA to dictate our findings. That is a false accusation. It has been said that we minimized concerns over lead in order to protect WASA: that is untrue and based on misleading innuendo. There have been insinuations of a sinister conspiracy also involving the Department of Health, EPA, and CDC – this is total fantasy.
The important points are:
1. Our research team did nothing wrong.
2. The local utility (the Water and Sewer Authority, WASA) did not have the power to dictate our findings.
3. The contract was between WASA and the university – I was not a "paid consultant" (as described). The university was reimbursed for my time on the work.
4. We did not minimize the importance of exposure to lead from any source.
5. The data in our 2007 study are valid, the analysis was accurately reported, and we stand by the conclusions.
Tee L. Guidotti, MD, MPH, DABT
LL explained to Guidotti that he had done no original reporting on the subject, and that his objections were best raised with the folks at the Washington Post and at Environment Science and Technology, but LL did say he'd air his defense here at City Desk.
LL will point this out: Guidotti's Point 1 is a value judgment. Point 2 is a matter of continued debate; the plain language of the agreement would seem to have permitted WASA editorial review, even if that was not the intention. Point 3 would seem to be a matter of semantics. Point 4 depends on how you interpret the sentence, "There appears to have been no identifiable public health impact from the elevation of lead in drinking water," which could easily be read to minimize the impact of waterborne lead (vis-a-viz, in the context of the report, paintborne lead). And on Point 5, pending a promised official review of the study, to quote one Jeffrey Lebowski, "Well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."