Former professor cleared of conflict of interest allegations over WASA study

A prominent former professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences was acquitted of allegations that he knowingly misled D.C. residents about the safety of the District’s water, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

In February, Tee Guidotti, a former professor and department chairman at SPHHS, was accused of allowing the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority to influence conclusions he published in the National Institutes of Health journal in 2007 regarding lead in the District’s water. In the journal article, Guidotti said the extraordinarily high lead content in the D.C. water supply from 2001 to 2004 was not harmful, a statement later found to be false.

A panel of scientists reviewing the allegations against Guidotti found that his conclusion was included in his journal article by mistake, and said Guidotti should submit an apology and correction for the false information that was published, according to The Washington Post. [Edit, Aug. 21: The Post also reported that Guidotti’s work was conducted as part of a contract between WASA and the University, and Guidotti was not a paid consultant of WASA.]

The panel, headed by three federal research experts, reviewed the allegations against Guidotti and said the e-mail correspondence between WASA and GW proved that WASA “did not intend any interference in Dr. Guidotti’s exercise of complete academic freedom,” the Post reported.

The panel said it found “no evidence on the part of the author to deceive or subvert the publication process,” according to the Post. “However, the Panel feels that the author must correct his failure to substitute key statements in the published paper.”

Guidotti said he took early retirement from GW effective July 1, 2008, and is phasing out his GW career over a year, The Hatchet reported in February.

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