The Author Guidelines for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) state: “Letters to the Editor may concern any scientific topic relevant to the purposes of the journal, including critical discussion of recently published papers. Letters to the Editor should not exceed two journal pages in length” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28ISSN%291552-8618/homepage/ForAuthors.html).
As is the policy of most journals, ET&C welcomes letters that offer a critical and clarifying discussion of a recently published paper. In these cases, the original authors are allowed one response and then both are published if accepted after anonymous peer review.
The following two letters by Page et al. and the ensuing two responses by Heintz et al. represent a one-time exception to this policy in several respects. The letters are not discussing a “recently published” paper; publication occurred more than 10 years ago. Also, a second response was permitted because the authors of the Letter to the Editor (Page et al.) saw the first author's (Heintz et al.) response, which was posted on our EarlyView site and took issue with its content. This unusual situation warranted a secondary response.
Letters to the Editor represent an important communication tool to ensure that current science is being presented effectively. In the future, however, Letters to the Editor will not be posted on EarlyView and only one response to recently published papers will be possible.