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Anti-FDA drive linked to industry

Conservative think tanks behind a movement to curb the Food and Drug Administration's regulatory powers received at least $3.5-million from drug and tobacco companies over the past four years, a study says.

"By relying on industry-funded misinformation in crafting FDA legislation, Congress may well threaten the lives and well being of millions of Americans," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, a consumer group that will release its study today.

Public Citizen, founded by Ralph Nader, supports FDA efforts to regulate the sale of tobacco.

The House Commerce Committee is considering a revamp of the FDA, in part by turning over much of its job to private companies.

Nomination clears hurdle

The nomination of Florida congressman Pete Peterson as ambassador to Vietnam is going ahead despite suggestions by legal experts that the appointment may violate a clause in the Constitution.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Tuesday that Clinton administration lawyers concluded there was no violation.

The clause bars a legislator "during the term for which he was elected" from accepting appointment "to any civil office . . . which shall have been created."

In order not to run afoul of the Constitution, Peterson, D-Marianna, will not actually take up his duties in Hanoi until January _ after the conclusion of his term.

Legislation

A 38-year-old standard barring any trace of pesticides in processed food _ no matter how slight the cancer risk _ would be repealed under a bill passed 417-0 by the House. The Senate Agriculture Committee considers a version of the bill today.

Contractors in federal projects could not be forced to use metric units in building materials under a bill passed by the House.

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