Mutagens and managers
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Dr John Coulter has been a leading environmentalist in South Australia since the 1950s. His research, advice and public statements have helped workers and citizens challenge health hazards on the job and in the community on numerous occasions. Not surprisingly, this activity has been most unwelcome in the top levels of chemical corporations and their allies in government and the scientific community.
On 30 June 1980 John Coulter was sacked from his job at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS) in Adelaide, and the environmental mutagens testing unit which he headed was closed down. There are many cases of suppression of scientists who speak out or do research on issues affecting the public interest, thereby posing a threat to corporate and bureaucratic vested interests. The Coulter case is the most serious of such cases in Australia to be publicised in recent years.