Chamber Demands National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Disclose Data on Salt Intake Study

Monday, September 22, 2003 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce – with the Salt Institute –filed an appeal with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute demanding the release of all the data from a report that suggests that lowering salt intake reduces high blood pressure in all classes of people – low, medium and high salt users.

"When a government institution makes a bold and certain assertion about America's health, it has the obligation to provide the scientific proof to back it up," said William Kovacs, Chamber vice president of environmental affairs. "We asked for the evidence and they wouldn't provide it to us."

Last May, the Chamber filed a petition with the Institute requesting the release of the data supporting the conclusions of their study: "The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Sodium Trial." The study stated or otherwise implied that a diet containing less than 2,400 mg of sodium per day would be beneficial to all Americans. In August, the Institute denied the petition to release the requested data on the basis that it was not "influential," and they had no duty under the Data Quality Act to disseminate the information.

The Chamber's appeal was based on the Data Quality Act – which requires federal agencies to back up scientific research. The Chamber was concerned because the Institute published factual conclusions without providing the underlying data.

"I am deeply troubled that a federal agency is not conducting sound science, which can be detrimental to the general public," continued Kovacs. "Hiding the data from the salt study only raises questions and makes us believe the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has something to hide."

The Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.