As we approach the Bush Administration’s final year, the gap between science and policy grows wider each day. Advances in science that could be used for the public good are rarely incorporated into public policy; some federal agencies seem almost unaware that the scientific literature exists and new studies are being published all the time.

A new wind is coming, though. The noteworthy failures of the FDA, EPA, OSHA, MSHA , CPSC, and other federal agencies that we’ve been chronicling here at the Pump Handle have led to increased demands for a government that uses science to protect the public.

To contribute to this effort, we are starting a new feature, Journal Scan, to report on articles in the scientific literature that inform, or should inform, public policy aimed at protecting our health and environment. In a few short paragraphs, we will try to summarize important scientific papers in non-technical language and discuss their policy implications.

We hope you, our readers, will contribute to this occasional feature. Please add not just your comments but send us full entries, as you see scientific papers which need to be part of the policy discourse.