Home > Uncategorized > State Ethics Commission Asked To Review Appointment of Chemical Industry Rep To Drinking Water Panel and Limit His Role

State Ethics Commission Asked To Review Appointment of Chemical Industry Rep To Drinking Water Panel and Limit His Role

Why would Sweeney appoint industry hired gun to a panel to protect public health?

Public disclosure and recusal requirements must be imposed

Yesterday, we broke the story that a high level chemical industry official who works for a chemical industry member organization with ties to Dupont was appointed to the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI).

Apparently, the appointment was quietly made by NJ Senate President Sweeney.

The DWQI is responsible for the science that supports NJ’s drinking water quality standards.

Potential conflicts of interest emerge from the fact that, among other things, the existence of chemical industry liability by his employer’s members for chemicals under review by the DWQI. For example, the DWQI is now considering controversial recommendations on drinking water standards for a Dupont manufactured chemical known as PFOA (or AKA C-8).

Today, we filed an ethics review request with the State Ethics Commission.

At a minimum, the new chemical industry representative should be required to issue a public disclosure statement listing all his RIMF corporate industry clients, and all his work on their behalf (prior and ongoing – including prior PSEG work).

He should also be required to recuse himself from any DWQI review and recommendation on any chemical which any of his RIMF industry member groups manufacture, sell, or distribute in NJ or have any liability for any release of any chemical to any environmental media or any contaminated site or any water supply source (including his prior employer PSEG).

NJ DEP is required to adopt an Ethics policy that meets the requirements of the State ethics law. NJ DEP also has ethics and scientific conflicts of interest policy that applies to members of the Science Advisory Board.  The new DWQI appointment should be required to comply with both.

The NJ press corps and citizens need to ask Senate President Sweeney if and why he would make this kind of appointment, that fails to represent the public interest and reflect necessary independent scientific integrity at the DWQI.

Below are our complaint to the State Ethics Commission and our related letter to the DWQI Chairman, Dr. Keith Cooper of Rutgers asking him to conduct an ethics review as well.

July 1, 2016 – via email

Dear State Ethics Commission:

I am writing concerning a recent appointment of an individual, Salvito, Daniel, Ph.D, Vice President, Environmental Sciences, Research Institute for Fragrance Materials.  to serve on the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI).

The DWQI was established by the Legislature as “in but not of” executive branch entity in the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). From the DEP website


About DWQI

1984 amendments to the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act (Act) at N.J.S.A. 58:12A- 20, established New Jersey’s Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI) as well as the drinking water standard setting process. The DWQI is responsible for developing Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) or standards for hazardous contaminants in drinking water and for recommending those standards as well as recommendations for the implementation of the drinking water quality program to the Commissioner of the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).


The DWQI has 15 members – six members serve ex officio and nine members are appointed, three each by the Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the Assembly. Appointed members are from the academic scientific community, members public with background in environmental health and from regulated public water supply systems. The Chairman is designated by the Governor.

Accordingly, I assume that the State Ethics Law and the DEP Ethics Policy applies to the DWQI and its members, see New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law, N.J.S.A. 52:13D-12 et seq. and implementing regulations (emphases mine):

The Legislature finds and declares:

(a) In our representative form of government, it is essential that the conduct of public officials and employees shall hold the respect and confidence of the people. Public officials must, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.

(b) To ensure propriety and preserve public confidence, persons serving in government should have the benefit of specific standards to guide their conduct and of some disciplinary mechanism to ensure the uniform maintenance of those standards amongst them.

I am concerned that the appointment of Salvito, Daniel, Ph.D and his deliberation and voting on DWQI issues raises significant potential perceived and/or actual conflicts of interest that may rise to violations of NJ’s ethics laws and policies.

The Legislature defined membership of the DWQI to include representatives of regulated entities, but those entities were limited in scope to “regulated public water supply systems”, not the manufacturers of chemicals who may contaminate public water supplies.

Mr. Salvito Daniel is employed in a management capacity by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM). RIMF is comprised of and funded by members of the chemical manufacturing industry who manufacture and/or distribute chemicals that may be under the review of the DWQI.

In his capacity at RIFM, Mr. Salvito Daniel owes a duty and professional loyalty and obligation to RIMF and its member groups.

As as member of the DWQI, Mr. Salvito Daniel owes a duty and loyalty to the public interest and the legal responsibilities of the DWQI.

There obviously are issues before the DWQI which involve and may conflict with the financial and legal interests of RIMF and its member companies.

In addition, the head of the RIMF is the former Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Dupont corporation, a company with significant liability for chemicals, including PFOA, now undergoing review by the DWQI.

Given these facts, there is a significant potential for appearance and substantive conflicts of interest that undermine the public’s respect, trust and confidence in the independence and scientific objectivity of the DWQI.

I request that the Ethics Commission conduct a review of the ethics compliance implications of this appointment, including the establishment of appropriate conflict of interest standards, recusal, and public disclosure requirements regarding conflicts between the missions of RIFM, its members and the NJ DWQI.

Below please find my related correspondence to the Chairman of the DWQI.

I am available to provide additional information to support this request, and look forward to your prompt and favorable review.


Bill Wolfe

From: “Bill” <bill_wolfe@comcast.net>
To: cooper@aesop.rutgers.edu
Sent: Friday, July 1, 2016 10:10:52 AM
Subject: DWQI appointment

Dear Dr. Cooper:

I am deeply troubled by the appointment of the DWQI’s newest member, introduced at yesterday’s meeting,  Salvito, Daniel, Ph.D, Vice President, Environmental Sciences, Research Institute for Fragrance Materials.

Apparently, Mr Salvito, Daniel was appointed by the NJ Senate as an “environmental health expert”.

Perhaps, by training and experience he is in fact an expert toxicologist, I have not reviewed his CV.

However, given his employment by the RIFM and the RIFM’s mission, funding, and members, the appointment is not appropriate and raises serious appearance issues regarding scientific integrity, scientific ethics, scientific independence, scientific bias, and conflicts of interest.

According to a recent Bloomberg News report, RIFM is headed by James C. Romine, PhD:

Bloomburg reported:

Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc. Announces Executive Changes

The new president of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc. (RIFM) is James C. Romine, Ph.D. Dr. Romine was V.P., Product Stewardship and Regulatory Affairs at DuPont in Wilmington, Del. He succeeds David K. Wilcox, Ph.D., who retired May 1, 2015. Dr. Romine was the first to lead DuPont’s functional competency for managing product stewardship and regulatory compliance in all markets and geographies.

Given RIFM’s ties to Dupont and regulated industries that manufacture and distribute chemicals subject to review by the DWQI, the appointment of  Salvito, Daniel, PhD raises not only appearance issues, but potential actual substantive conflicts.

These appearance and potential conflicts undermine the public’s trust and confidence in the scientific deliberations of the DWQI.

I urge you to address this issue head on –

At a minimum, some kind of formal and public scientific ethics review is in order, including, at a minimum, imposition of appropriate recusal and disclosure requirements.

I am deeply troubled by this appointment, as well as the failure by the DEP to implement numerous prior MCL recommendations of the DWQI.

Your predecessor resigned in frustration due to these, and other persistent problems.

Personally, if I were in your shoes, at this point I would do the same, to inform the public, to  preserve the integrity of the DWQI, and to maintain your own stellar professional reputation.


Bill Wolfe

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