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Junk Science ???

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Definitions: ... "junk science" is the
term that corporate defenders apply
to any research, no matter how rigorous,
that justifies regulations to protect
the environment and public health.
The opposing term, "sound science,"
is used in reference to any research,
no matter how flawed, that can be
used to challenge, defeat, or reverse
environmental and public health
protection. ( Trust Us, We're Experts,
ISBN 1-58542-139-1, p. 222-223).  Click here
for another review of the book.

Click here to watch The Long Shadow video-dirty politics at its finest

The "Sound Science" mantra is alive and well in the Saginaw Valley.  Anyone with an interest in the local Dow dioxin contamination needs to take a few moments to reflect upon the history of the phrase and those who use it.   As predicted, the words of "sound science" are being uttered by the usual suspects: Dow Chemical and it's supporters.   So how does one identify possible deceptive information when they hear it?  Simply listen for the red flag phrases of "sound science" , "good science", "junk science", or "poor science".  Be especially leery if spoken by Dow representatives, local public health officials, conservative  legislators (and their political supporters).  Use of these phrases by the average citizen may be benign as most have no knowledge of the corporate sponsored misinformation campaign behind it.  

What do the promoters of "sound science" hope to gain?  There is no simple answer, you will have to read all the information below to form an opinion of your own.  The short answer is paralysis by analysis, i.e. the ability to talk and do nothing at the public's expense.  In TRW's opinion, the solution is THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, click here for details

Below are links to extensive research pertaining to the shadowy world of "sound science" proponents:

bullet03/05/12  "Sound Science" debunked.
Science Prevails

 

The significance of EPA’s recent release of the non-cancer portion of the dioxin reassessment cannot be overstated.

 

In 2005 many Dow Chemical apologists across the region and in Lansing insisted that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality abandon the use of 90 ppt for dioxin in soil for residential contact. Hoping to improve the outlook on Dow’s pervasive contamination as well as to undermine MDEQ’s regulatory authority this cadre of apologists insisted on using the EPA’s outdated (1980’s) soil contact criteria of 1,000 ppt for dioxin in soil.

 

These apologists also cited, misused and incorrectly portrayed the Centers for Disease Control (ATSDR) use of 1,000 ppt because it was convenient for them to do so.

 

In public meetings and press releases alike the Dow Chemical apologists demanded " sound science” even as they attempted to legislate the use of EPA’s outdated science. They attempted to legislate the use of every Dow funded study while legislating the elimination of MDEQ’s authority overseeing corrective action. There was nothing these apologists would not do or skew to accommodate Dow’s agenda. Their idea of sound science was whatever Dow Chemical told them or whatever outcomes were divined in any one of the many studies funded by Dow. There was no room for independent scientists or public health advocates. No room or considerations for vulnerable populations

 

Dow apologists, supporters and dioxin deniers ignored the following:

 

A plethora of current science on dioxin toxicity

 

1998 EPA directive (OSWER) allowing a state’s more stringent contact criteria be used in place of EPA’s 1,000 ppt

 

2006 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry letter from the agencies director, Dr. Peter Frumkin:

 

….we understand that certain Michigan state legislators have been referring to our Action Level in proposed legislation to modify the state cleanup for dioxins in soil. This is an example of how our guidelines have been applied in ways that we did not intend.”

 

The algorithm used by MDCH/MDEQ to arrive at the 90 ppt

 

The fact that no other community or state in the nation was using any number even close to 1, 000 ppt e.g., Florida 7.0 ppt, Oregon 3.6 ppt, Iowa 14 ppt

 

EPA’s support for Michigan’s 90 ppt

 

The evolving science on the toxicity of dioxin at lower exposure rates

The vulnerability of children, women, infants or the developing fetus

 

 

Hell bent on doing Dow’s bidding, Dow Chemical became the only conduit of information for these apologists. They refused to hear any truth, argument or science not stamped with the Dow seal of approval.

 

Two weeks ago, on February 17th EPA released the non-cancer portion of the dioxin reassessment. For the first time ever the agency established a reference dose for dioxin of .7pc/kg/day. This number is important because it speaks to the toxicity of dioxin at low levels. When the science is distilled a soil concentration of about 49 ppt for dioxin in soils is extrapolated.

 

Michigan’s public servants take serious their commitment to public health and the protection of people and natural resources in this state. MDEQ’s use of 90 ppt was correct and appropriate. But because of political interference by Dow and their apologist the states’ protective number was supplanted by a politically expedient and outdated number.

 

The disservice foisted on the taxpayers and the people of the Saginaw Bay Watershed is surpassed only by the injustice done to property owners, families and children impacted daily because they happen to live on dioxin contaminated property.

 

So who embraced outdated science, politics and Dow’s agenda?

 

Senator Roger Kahn

Senator John Moolenaar

Senator Mike Gotchka

Governor Jennifer Granholm

Public Sector Consultants

Representative Ken Horn

Senator Tony Stamas

Local Chambers of Commerce

City of Midland

Congressman Dave Camp

 

(The elected officials and community leaders who sat silent and let it happen have to take some blame too)

 

Supplanting the state’s more protective number with a 1,000 ppt denied many residents the opportunity for interim response activities over the past several years. It has resulted in lengthy delays and wasted taxpayers’ dollars, undermined the importance of legitimate science in policy decisions and placed the polluter’s agenda ahead of public health protection.

 

Corporate driven politics, whose primacy is embraced by these elected officials, is anathema to the work of the people and the transparency needed for communities be engaged. The regulatory timidity that ensues when these legislators attack good public servants who rely on legitimate science further hinders public engagement. It is an affront to democracy.

 

The activities of the aforementioned individuals are not abstractions and their efforts to undermine public health are real. Much works remains to be done. EPA needs to speak loudly and clearly about the toxicity of dioxin and the unique contamination issues that confront this Michigan watershed awash in dioxin.

 

MDEQ’s 90 ppt was not junk science. Their science has been vindicated and EPA’s recent release speaks to the ever-increasing base of knowledge on the toxicity of dioxin.

 

Senators Kahn and Moolenaar, perhaps two of the most outspoken proponents of outdated science will hopefully embrace the recent release by EPA with as much veracity as was exhibited in their in 2005 press conference demanding MDEQ use the outdated 1,000 ppt.

 

 

Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
989-799-3313
cell 989-327-0854
michdave@aol.com
www.cleanwatershedcampaign.org

 
bullet02/03/11  Dow and U-M Garabrant team up to interfere with EPA public health measures

Lone Tree Council

 P.O. 1251, Bay City, Michigan 48706

  (Fighting for environmental justice since 1978)

  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            CONTACT: Michelle Hurd Riddick 799-3313

                                                                                       Cell- 989-327-0854

Feb 3, 2011                                                                Terry Miller (989) 686-6386

                                                                                         Cell: 989-450-8097

                                                                                   Carol Chisholm: 989- 790-4836

 DOW CHEMICAL AND DR DAVID GARABRANT TEAM UP FOR LATEST EFFORT TO INTERFERE WITH EPA PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES

         

Environmentalists and river residents have requested that the EPA and national public health officials review the latest release by Dr David Garabrant of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study (UMDES) to determine whether it is an accurate and appropriate public health message to the community.

 

Local environmentalists including Lone Tree Council, Tittabawassee River Watch joined the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center and Dr. Ted Schettler MD MPH in criticism of a Dow funded dioxin study.

Last week, a team of University of Michigan researchers issued a “revised final” report on a long-running dioxin exposure study conducted on area residents.  Results of the controversial study funded by Dow Chemical were first released in 2006.  This new revised final study presents no additional data, but purports to have refined its analysis to come to the conclusion that local sources of dioxin exposure like fish and soil are not currently contributing to dioxin levels in area residents. 

This ‘conclusion’ is drawn from a new statistical analysis of blood drawn from Saginaw and Midland residents in 2004 and 2005 under the direction of Dr. David Garabrant of the University of Michigan.  But river residents and environmentalists are suspicious of its timed release. So are others:

 

“The new report is clearly intended to influence public opinion,” said Dr. Ted Schettler, science director for Science and Environmental Health Network.   In recent media reports Dr. Schettler said that the report is “outside the scientific norm” because it does not fully explain how it reanalyzed the data to come up with the new conclusions. He too calls upon EPA to review the findings and the message.

 

The distribution of 117,000 of the unsolicited brochures comes on the heels of an EPA public comment period on efforts to minimize dioxin exposure for residents living in the most contaminated areas of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw flood plains.  For many residents and the environmental community the timing and content of the new report is not coincidental.

 

“It is so obvious that Dr. Garabrant is doing Dow’s bidding,” said Tittabawassee River Watch member and river resident Carol Chisholm. “The original study has been controversial from its beginning, criticized by both Michigan regulators and the EPA and now just as EPA is trying to educate people and make their property safer, Dr Garabrant releases the Dow funded study that says dioxin in not a problem?”

 

Residents and activists point out that no new information has been made available on the UMDES web site. Activists also point out that Dr. Garabrant didn’t inform the EPA, MDCH or MDNRE of this new analysis for comments.  He also did not go through the formal peer review process appropriate for scientific reports. State and federal regulators reportedly had no knowledge of the planned release of the report or distribution to the community.

 

“This appears much like a political campaign,” noted Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council chairman.  “It is clear that Dow is attempting to leverage the good name of the University of Michigan to give plausibility to those who would dismiss the health threat posed by dioxin and EPA’s effort to protect at-risk residents.”

 

Environmentalists suggest that the Dow-paid study is another variation on what Dow has historically done to avoid responsibility for a cleanup at this site.

 

“Usually they use the halls of power -- a call to the governor or a strong lobbying effort to rein in regulators,” said Lone Tree Council member, Michelle Hurd Riddick. “It certainly worked with the state and it worked at EPA Region V, when former Administrator Gade used CERCLA authority to compel cleanup of properties on Riverside drive. This year’s tactic, building on Dow’s decades old mantra that dioxin is not toxic, has Dow and Dr. Garabrant releasing some new and improved findings to undercut EPA’s ongoing efforts to implement public health interventions by suggesting dioxin is no problem.”

 

 EPA has granted TRW and Lone Tree Council a thirty-day extension on the public comment period. Lone Tree Council and river residents have also sought the technical help of Dr. Peter defur to respond to both the interim response efforts by EPA and the recent release by Dr Garabrant. 

                                                                            END  

 

Click here for letter to Administrator Jackson or go to: www.cleanwatershedcampaign.org 
 

bullet01/30/11  Garabrant claims dioxin of no concern to residents

David Garabrant, a known "industry aligning expert", recently released a update to his 2004 dioxin exposure study.   From what we understand, this is not a new study, just a new statistical manipulation of old data he collected in 2004.  Garabrant claimed impartiality in the original $15,000,0000 Dow Chemical funded study however not everyone agrees.  Below are comments about his "impartiality" as  published in an article by the Michigan Messenger in 2009:

Observers challenge Garabrant’s impartiality

“He is using the good name of U of M and his status as a medical doctor to remove responsibility from Dow,” said Terry Miller, chairman of the Lone Tree Council.

Miller is not alone in criticizing Garabrant for the way he carries out corporate-funded research.

A 2007 International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health article titled Industry Influence on Occupational and Environmental Public Health by James Huff — now associate director for Chemical Carcinogenesis at the Office of Risk Assessment Research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — named Garabrant as an example of an “industry-aligning expert.”

“Academic credentials often are used to shield industry views and to create the illusion of objectivity,” Huff wrote. “In fact, a person’s professional address or organization does not reflect his or her public health philosophy, nor does the institution necessarily reflect a purity of pursuit.

“Industry often forms institutes to contradict or cloud damaging findings. One alarming result is that public health officials increasingly accede to or are coerced by industry persuasion.”

Dr. David Egilman, associate professor of community health at Brown University, has written extensively on how corporations fund science as part of a strategy to avoid liability for harms associated with their products.

In an article titled “Maximizing Profit and Endangering Health: Corporate Strategies to Avoid Litigation and Regulation” published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health he wrote:

In order to reach potential jurors, who are unlikely to read scientific publications, corporations have developed programs to restrict and coordinate the flow of health information to the media. H & K’s asbestos media strategy relied on securing interviews of and placing bylined articles by experts “sympathetic to the company’s point of view.” H & K consultants referred to this as “capturing ‘share of mind’” on the national level.

In an interview, Egilman said that he was familiar Garabrant’s work, not on dioxin but on asbestos.

“He got paid to do these asbestos studies that I critiqued. Those studies were used to deprive workers of compensation for their illnesses. Companies paid for a result that helped in presenting evidence to juries that their asbestos brakes never hurt anybody.”

Garabrant told Michigan Messenger that he was unaware that he’d been named an “industry-aligning expert” and confirmed that he had served as an expert witness for Ford on the question of whether automobile brake shoes cause mesothelioma. 

After the release of the initial study in 2006 a confidential EPA memo critical of Dow and the Garabrant study stated

The results of the study are consistent with current EPA/MDEQ understanding, and will not have any significant effect on corrective action activities. However, public presentations of the preliminary results have emphasized how little effect living on contaminated soils has on an individual’s dioxin blood level. This emphasis has resulted in numerous media stories, an understanding by some members of the public, that remediation of dioxin contamination is unnecessary.

A September 2009 EPA memo critical of the Garabrant study stated:

For risk-based decision-making, EPA’s focus is typically on highly exposed and/or sensitive subpopulations, in addition to the general population. The UMDES did not target such subpopulations and coverage of groups of interest for risk-based decision-making is limited. Thus, the lack of emphasis on sampling of subpopulations likely to be most affected -- such as people living on properties with very high soil levels and people consuming large amounts of possibly contaminated fish and game -- is a significant drawback.

From what we understand, Garabrant sent over 117,000 fliers last week the homes of Michigan residents touting his new, and possibly flawed data which once again downplay the contamination.

In a flurry of press activity late last week, many media outlets published Garabrant new claims, click here for the Detroit Free Press version

 
bullet 08/28/10 Garabrant challenged on links to Junk Science in court

Snippets From the Madison Record:

An epidemiologist testifying for 3M in a Madison County benzene trial told jurors Thursday that studies indicate that benzene does not cause the type of cancer at issue in plaintiff Veto Kleinaitis's case.

Dr. David Garabrant, an epidemiologist from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, testified Thursday morning that there is no link between benzene exposures and developing mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) or other Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). ....

Plaintiff's attorney William Kohlburn spent much of the early part of his cross examination of Garabrant attacking his work for other chemical producers and defendants.

"So, lately a great deal of the money you make testifying that things don't hurt people comes from the companies that make those things?" Kohlburn asked. ...

Kohlburn questioned Garabrant at length about his studies of Dioxin that were funded by Dow Chemical Company ....

"How do you feel about offering testimony on behalf of a company that was studying people while exposing them to bad things?" the plaintiff's attorney asked. ...

http://www.madisonrecord.com/news/229237-defense-experts-testifies-no-link-between-benzene-non-hodgkins-lymphoma?

bullet

U of M refuses to reveal details of Dow relationship

Fails to answer FOIA requests after five months of inquiries

Months after releasing documents that show that the University of Michigan allowed Dow Chemical to preview publications about its dioxin exposure study, the university has so far refused to release any communications between Dow and the university researchers being paid to carry out the study.

Because the university is publicly funded, such communications fall under the Freedom of Information Act and legally must be turned over upon request, but after five months the university has failed to answer such a request — despite having cashed a check to reimburse the expense involved in fulfilling the request more than 10 weeks ago.

Since 2003 U of M has received at least $15 million dollars to carry out a study that involves exposure to the chemical dioxin among residents of the Saginaw River watershed. Dioxin is a highly toxic and cancer causing byproduct of chemical manufacturing and Dow Chemical’s operations at its Midland facility are the source of dioxin contamination in the watershed.

Dioxin has contaminated the floodplain of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and the plume of contamination stretches into Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

In 2003, residents of the contaminated floodplain filed a class action suit against Dow Chemical seeking medical monitoring and property damages. That same year Dow commissioned a study by the University of Michigan School of Public Health to examine whether there is a relationship between levels of dioxin in soil and household dust and levels of dioxin in people‘s blood.

The study did not involve many samples from the area known to be most contaminated with dioxin, and it found only a small relationship between soil and blood dioxin levels. In public presentations about the study results, however, lead researcher Dr. David Garabrant insisted that the study had found no relationship between blood and soil levels.

The dioxin exposure study got a great deal of publicity in the greater Saginaw area, and though it was not a study of the health effects of dioxin exposure, in public events and in news coverage it was frequently portrayed as scientific evidence that area residents need not fear the contamination.

Both the state Department of Environmental Quality (now the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found it necessary to commission and present critiques of the study.

Among the shortfalls identified in these publicly funded reviews was that the study didn’t give adequate attention to groups that could be at special risk, such as children who have greater exposure to soils or people who eat fish from the contaminated watershed. The government reports also pointed out that the study did not sample heavily in the most contaminated areas. Despite these limitations chemical industry groups have lobbied to have the study be used by government agencies involved in regulating dioxin and cleaning it up.

The study authors have insisted that Dow’s sponsorship of their work had no affect on it.

In a Dec. 3, 2009 e-mail exchange with Michigan Messenger Garabrant insisted that Dow received no preferential treatment by researchers.

“Our research contract does not require us to share our presentations with Dow or anyone else. Dow, MDEQ, and everyone else are welcome to sit in the audience at any public presentation we make,” he said. “We do not provide our materials to any stakeholder preferentially, including MDEQ and Dow. They will get the presentations when all other stakeholders get them – when they are posted to the web.”

However, a copy of the contract between U-M and Dow, obtained by Michigan Messenger through a FOIA request last fall, shows that Dow was allowed to preview all communications about the study.

It states:

Sponsor recognizes that under University policy, the University must be free to publish results of University Project and agrees that researchers engaged in Project shall be permitted to present at symposia, national, or regional professional meetings, and to publish in journals, theses or dissertations, or otherwise of their own choosing, methods and results of Project, provided however that Sponsor shall have been furnished copies of any proposed publication or presentation at least one month in advance of the submission of such proposed publication or presentation to a journal, editor, or other third party.

In an effort to understand what this provision of the contract meant for the study and public presentations about the study, Michigan Messenger in October filed a FOIA request asked for copies of correspondence between U of M and Dow about the presentation and promotion of the study.

U of M’s FOIA office identified the records in November, and cashed a $240 dollar check to cover the labor costs of sorting the files and preparing the response, but more than 10 weeks later still has not produced the documents.

These documents are important to ascertain what influence Dow may have exerted over the study’s methods and results, and over the way those results are communicated to the public, because experts say corporate funded research is far more likely to support the vested interests of that funder than independently funded studies.

Social psychologist Carol Tavris earned her Phd from the University of Michigan in 1971 and wrote about the dangers of the corporate funding of research in her recent book with Elliot Aronson, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By ME).”

Tavris said that when the firewall between industry and research is breached there is corruption and sometimes the funded scientist isn’t even aware that he or she has become corrupted.

“Fundamentally what happens is that if I accept money to do research from a company with a vested interest in the outcome of my research I will continue to think of myself as unbiased, but the fact is that I am biased in terms of interpreting data in a way that benefits my funder or else I won’t get more funding.”

“As universities in their quest for money began breaking down what was once a massive firewall between research and industry they began to lose track of how funding blinds them,” she said.

Tavris said that comparing the results of studies funded independently and those funded by industry shows a consistent and undeniable bias toward the interests of the corporations that funded the research.

In her book she describes one case in which two investigators “selected 161 studies all published in the same six year span, of the possible risks to human health of four chemicals. Of those funded by industry, only 14 percent found harmful effects on health; of those funded independently, fully 60 percent found harmful effects.”

In another case:

“A researcher examined more than 100 controlled clinical trials designed to determine effectiveness of a new medication over older ones. Of those favoring the traditional drug, 13 percent had been funded by drug companies and 87 percent by nonprofit institutions.”

Tavris said that Dow’s requirement that it preview presentations about the dioxin exposure study compromises the project.

“If you are going to accept money from any funder with a vested interest the rules have to be clear and ruthless. There needs to me a firewall between funder and the vested interest.”

Even without such a preview provision, she said, where there is corporate funding, “the researcher will be bending over backwards to get the results they want.”

Tavris also pointed out that there is a history of corporate funding compromising research at the University of Michigan, even when it involved far lower amounts of money — and Dow was even involved in at least one previous scandal.

In 2001, FOIA requests by the Louisville Courier-Journal revealed a very close relationship between CSX railroad and the University of Michigan researchers that it had hired to study whether exposure to chlorinated solvents had caused brain damage in CSX workers.

The newspaper reported that CSX and Dow Chemical had paid more than $170,000 for research that concluded that there was no link between the workers solvent exposure and their diagnosed brain damage. It also reported that while carrying out the study two of the researchers had worked as paid expert witnesses for law firms representing the railroad in the lawsuits filed by workers.

According to a June 26, 2001 Associated Press account of the scandal, the CSX and Dow Chemical-funded study “was conducted without consent from the workers, using data from medical tests they underwent at the university years before, not knowing those tests would become research material.”

The University insisted that corporate sponsorship has had no impact on the study and an investigation by the U-M Institutional Review Board cleared lead author Dr. James Albers and his colleague Dr. Stanley Berent of any wrongdoing in October 2001.

Two years later federal investigators found that the University had failed to follow correct protocol when it allowed doctors to access medical records without permission.

According to a March 10, 2003 AP report the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research Protection ordered the University to submit a correction action plan and to respond to other undisclosed concerns.

Both Albers and Berent are still listed as faculty on the website of the U of M School of Public Health.

Dr. David Garabrant, the lead investigator for the U of M Dioxin Expose Study was also one of the researchers in the CSX sponsored solvent research.

http://michiganmessenger.com/36181/u-of-m-refuses-to-reveal-details-of-dow-relationship

 
bullet10/24/09  U of M study biased,  Garabrant a leading ‘industry-aligning expert’

Excerpt's from The Michigan Messenger;

For the last six years, University of Michigan research funded by Dow Chemical has figured prominently in public discussions over what to do about the dioxin contamination caused by the company in the Saginaw River watershed. Federal and state environmental agencies have warned that U-M’s Dioxin Exposure Study has failed to answer crucial questions and that its results are being misinterpreted.

Despite this, U-M’s lead researcher on the project — a man some environmental health scientists say should not be seen as objective because of his track record of working for industry interests — is actively insisting his study should shape regulatory action on dioxin.

Some warn that the project is biased, and that the University of Michigan is being used as part of a Dow campaign to avoid liability for some of the most serious dioxin contamination in the entire nation.

Dr. David Garabrant, professor emeritus and founding director of U-M School of Public Health’s Risk Science Center, is the lead researcher on U-M’s Dioxin Exposure Study which was funded with $15 million from Dow.

...

In a confidential EPA memo leaked to the media in the summer of 2007, the agency was more blunt, naming the university’s Dioxin Exposure Study as one of several Dow actions intended to impede cleanup.

The results of the study are consistent with current EPA/MDEQ understanding, and will not have any significant effect on corrective action activities. However, public presentations of the preliminary results have emphasized how little effect living on contaminated soils has on an individual’s dioxin blood level. This emphasis has resulted in numerous media stories, an understanding by some members of the public, that remediation of dioxin contamination is unnecessary.

...

A 2007 International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health article titled Industry Influence on Occupational and Environmental Public Health by James Huff — now associate director for Chemical Carcinogenesis at the Office of Risk Assessment Research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — named Garabrant as an example of an “industry-aligning expert.”

“Academic credentials often are used to shield industry views and to create the illusion of objectivity,” Huff wrote. “In fact, a person’s professional address or organization does not reflect his or her public health philosophy, nor does the institution necessarily reflect a purity of pursuit.

“Industry often forms institutes to contradict or cloud damaging findings. One alarming result is that public health officials increasingly accede to or are coerced by industry persuasion.”

Dr. David Egilman, associate professor of community health at Brown University, has written extensively on how corporations fund science as part of a strategy to avoid liability for harms associated with their products.

In an article titled “Maximizing Profit and Endangering Health: Corporate Strategies to Avoid Litigation and Regulation” published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health he wrote:

In order to reach potential jurors, who are unlikely to read scientific publications, corporations have developed programs to restrict and coordinate the flow of health information to the media. H & K’s asbestos media strategy relied on securing interviews of and placing bylined articles by experts “sympathetic to the company’s point of view.” H & K consultants referred to this as “capturing ‘share of mind’” on the national level.

In an interview, Egilman said that he was familiar Garabrant’s work, not on dioxin but on asbestos.

“He got paid to do these asbestos studies that I critiqued. Those studies were used to deprive workers of compensation for their illnesses. Companies paid for a result that helped in presenting evidence to juries that their asbestos brakes never hurt anybody.”

 
bullet12/7/07  Secret Memo: Dioxin report details deception

Click here to view the confidential EPA memo detailing Dow's deceptive tactics accidentally released to the Lone Tree Council as part of a FOIA request.  See 12/7/07  Detroit Free Press story for an interpretation.  Note: there have been two breaking stories in the last 24 hours, the whistle blower lawsuit filed yesterday about Dow submitting flawed data to the MDEQ is unrelated to the leaked EPA memo above. However they both share a common theme: a sneaky and unscrupulous Dow Chemical The Detroit Free Press reports (a few snippets)

EPA found state failed to stand up to chemical giant

With the state's complicity, Dow Chemical Co. has delayed cleanup and misled the public about the dangers of dioxin it dumped decades ago into rivers downstream of its Midland plant, Environmental Protection Agency officials charged in a confidential August internal report.

The memo, obtained by the Free Press, also said Dow impeded state efforts to force a cleanup, concealed data and studies, tried to keep documents confidential that should have been made public and insisted on negotiating cleanup details with Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office, rather than staff of the state Department of Environmental Quality.  ...

The situation has left people living along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers frustrated. Their yards and homes are contaminated with dioxin that continues to wash onto their land during flooding. ...

 

Separately from the EPA memo, a high-ranking Dow employee, whose job was to oversee validation of test results of soil samples tested for dioxin along the river, filed a lawsuit in Saginaw County last month claiming tests by Dow contractors were so flawed that the laboratory doing the validation rejected them and then quit, saying it didn't want to continue validation work for Dow. ...

A revealing memo

The EPA memo accidentally was released within recent weeks to the Lone Tree Council, an environmental group, under a Freedom of Information Act request. ...
 
The memo said that Dow, unlike most companies, has insisted on direct negotiations with the governor and with Chester of the DEQ.
The EPA memo also said:

• Dow had done unapproved studies and collected data without telling regulators. The DEQ fined the firm $70,000 in January 2006 over illegal sampling.

• Political figures, including legislators, have been involved on Dow's behalf, trying to soften standards in the company's favor.

• Dow tried to make dioxin seem less toxic. The EPA issued a press release last month rebuking Dow for statements downplaying the extremely high sample found in the Saginaw River.

• Dow used a dispute process to make documents confidential that should not be. The memo itself is one of those documents. ...

• Under a grant from Dow and pursuant to an unpublished contract with Dow, the University of Michigan has conducting a study of dioxin exposure in the Saginaw Bay watershed. EPA does not consider the study to be particularly relevant to the corrective action in this matter and believes the study was initiated at the request of Dow in order to downplay the risks of exposure to dioxin contaminated soils.

Getting to the truth

In her suit, whistleblower Denney said the independent laboratory double-checking the dioxin results told her in November 2006 that the data from Dow's contractor was badly flawed. ...
 

Denney told her bosses. A week later, they ordered her to stop doing any work relating to the data validation.

The lab rejected the data in a letter Dec. 5, 2006, saying it couldn't validate it.

On Dec. 8, the lab sent Dow a letter terminating its contract, citing a breakdown in procedures. Denney's suit said Dow submitted the bad data to the DEQ in February.

"She's been shut out," said Victor Mastromarco Jr., Denney's attorney.

 

bullet Click here to view the entire Free Press article
bullet Click here to view the whistle blowers suit document
 
bullet6/4/06 Dow's Paustenbach "scientist for hire" a fraud, T.River studies compromised

"In a real-life epilogue to "Erin Brockovich," a peer-reviewed medical journal will retract a fraudulent article written and placed by a science-for-hire consulting firm whose CEO sits on a key federal toxics panel. The retraction follows a six- month internal review by the journal, prompted by an Environmental Working Group (EWG) investigation" ... "It is abundantly clear that CDC's contractor, ChemRisk, does not have the necessary scientific or ethical integrity to engender public trust," EWG's Wiles wrote to CDC Director Julie Gerberding in March. "It is also clear that ChemRisk founder and president Dennis Paustenbach has been directly involved in the firm's unethical behavior." Click here to view entire article, source: www.ascribe.org.

Why should we be concerned? Dow's "Sound Science" has Paustenbach fingerprints all over them

Paustenbach is involved with a number of firms contracted by Dow for their manipulated studies. "There is a whole industry that exists to convince regulators that exposures aren't dangerous in order to get companies off the hook  and Paustenbach and (his former firm) Exponent are in the middle of that industry." ," says David Michaels, an environmental research professor at George Washington University who served as assistant secretary for Environment, Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1998 through January 2001.   Incidentally, when a Newark Star-Ledger's investigator asked a former Clinton Administration environmental official about Paustenbach, he replied: "Ah, Dr. Evil."

bulletDennis Paustenbach for hire, current and former affiliated companies (that we know of):
bulletChemRisk, Dennis Paustenbach CEO and founder
bulletDow Chemical is a client
bulletChemRisk was once a division of McLaren/Hart
bulletExponent, Inc., Paustenbach, former Corporate Vice President
bulletDow Chemical is a client
bulletMcLaren/Hart Environmental Engineering Corporation (defunct?)
bulletPausenbach not mentioned, but this is the type of company that hired him: The Board of Ethics (the “Board”) pursuant to the authority contained in LSA-R.S. 42:1141, conducted a private investigation concerning information that William Kucharski, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, may have violated Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics (LSA-R.S. 42:1101 et seq.) (the “Code”) by sharing in income received by his wife, Lynn Kucharski, as salary for services performed for McLaren/Hart Environmental Engineering Corporation (“McLaren/Hart”), at a time when that corporation had substantial economic interests which Mr. Kucharski could affect by the performance of his official responsibilities.
bulletStauffer Chemical
bulletSyntex Pharmaceuticals
bulletDow's 2002 bioavailability study for Mid-Michigan designed by Paustenbach would have raised the allowable level of dioxins to 831 ppt (from the current 90 ppt RDCC).  The proposal was part of Dow's failed 2002 attempt to manipulate the former corrupt Michigan DEQ administration to ram through an ILLEGAL Corrective Action Consent Order (CACO).
bullet EPA's objections to the CACO
bulletA few media excerpts from the past: APMDN, WP
bulletThe on-going, Dow funded "Oral Bioavailability of Dioxins/Furans in Midland and Tittabawassee River Flood Plain Soils" study is being prepared by Exponent.
bulletOriginally proposed in the 2002 CACO, Paustenbachs proposed "Probabilistic Risk Assessment" methods resurfaces in Dow's 2005 RIA Scope of Work for the Tittabawassee River floodplain.  The EPA stated such methods are not allowed in it's 2006 letter of "Critical Deficiency comments".
bulletPaustenbach is a member of the EPA's Science Advisory Board and participates in the EPA's Dioxin Reassessment Review.  Much to the Chemical industries delight, his "contributions" have assisted in delaying the agencies final report by almost 15 years.
bullet Industry Influence in the Dioxin Reassessment, prepared by Boston University School of Public Health highlights Paustenbach's unethical involvement in the process.
bulletInteresting: Dr. David Garabrant, the U of M professor heading the Dow funded Human Dioxin Exposure Pathway study shares a seat with Paustenbach on the Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxic Research Center Scientific Advisory Panel.    Any chance Paustenbach is influencing Garabrant?

The Environmental Working Group put together an excellent expose on the matter, below are the tactics used by Paustenbach to fraudulently submit "sound science" papers to unsuspecting Medical journals.

bulletFailure to disclose who wrote the manuscript.
bulletFailure to disclose that the study was funded by PG&E.
bulletFalsely stating in the published paper that stomach cancer rates weren't available for the province.
bulletBasing analysis on the level of contamination detected in the wells in 1965, knowing that by the end of that year the picture of contamination in the wells had dramatically changed.
bulletIgnoring useful data that were readily available.
bulletMisrepresenting the study design in several ways to make it seem stronger.
bulletFailing to disclose key facts about the data presented.
bulletSimultaneous submission to two journals.

The bottom line: The next time you hear Dow supporter utter "Sound Science", think of Dr. Evil
 

bullet01/29/06 WHO bars Dow from participating in setting global protection standards

According to a recent API story, The International Life Sciences Institute , funded by hundreds of corporations including Dow Chemical, was barred by the World Health Organization (WHO) from helping set global standards for protecting food and water supplies because of its funding sources.

bullet"The WHO and other public health agencies risk their scientific credibility and may be compromising public health by partnering with ILSI,"
bullet"the institute 'has a demonstrated history of putting the interests of its exclusively corporate membership ahead of science and health concerns, and that ILSI's special status with the WHO provides a back door to influence WHO activities.'
 
bullet 06/14/06 Canadians contesting the false principle of "Sound Science", what about US?
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act calls on the government to use 'precaution' in its risk management of toxins, but the principle has not been used.
 
"As the federal government comes under criticism for failing to properly regulate toxins and carcinogens in consumer products and the environment, the Standing Committee on Environment heard last week that government departments have relied on a faulty approach of using "sound science" to determine the risks associated with toxins." ... "Sound science, if you read any of the literature on it, was a term created by industry, deliberately, to interject uncertainty, to interject doubt into decision-making. So the fact that we have sound science in our federal documentation suggests that we're really lining ourselves up with the kind of language the industry uses, deliberately, to undermine action." ...

Click here to view the entire article

bulletSound Science ?
bulletThe Fraud of "Sound Science" (links to www.gadflyer.com)
bullet"Much of the modern conservative agenda on science is embodied in the enigmatic phrase "sound science," a term used with increasing frequency these days despite its apparent lack of a clear, agreed-upon definition. In one sense, "sound science" simply means "good science." Indeed, when unwitting liberals and journalists have been caught using the phrase - which happens quite frequently - it appears to have been with this meaning in mind. ... Conservatives, too, want people to hear "good science" when they say "sound science." But there are reasons for thinking they actually mean something more by the term. ... In this sense, "sound science" seems to mean requiring a high burden of proof before taking government action to protect public health and the environment (not really a scientific position at all). ... U.S. House of Representatives, chaired by Utah Republican Chris Cannon, notes that "environmental laws should be made with great caution and demand a high degree of scientific certainty" - once again, a policy statement rather than one having to do strictly with science. "  Chris Mooney, www.gadflyer.com
bulletBehind Closed Doors
bulletChemical Industry Initiatives to Discredit and Stall the Release of the EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment
bulletConflict of Interest: How the Chemical Industry Stacks Scientific Peer Review Panels
bulletPublic Participation: The Chemical Industry’s Attempt to Ram Through a Policy that Would Squash Freedom of Speech
bulletBait and Switch: Science Advisory Board Report on November Meeting
bulletLawsuits: A Way to Conceal Information from the Public
bulletStall Tactics:  Delay is the Name of the Game
bullet

Chemical Industry Efforts to Block Local Initiatives on Dioxin

bullet

The myth: 1,000 ppt TEQ dioxin is "safe"

bullet

The Defenders of dioxin

bulletJunkscience.com - Backers and funding - the Truth
bulletSteven Milloy & junkscience.com links to industry
bullet"Junkman" Steven Milloy has made a career of lobbying for polluting industries, heading corporate front groups to deny environmental concerns, and ridiculing individual environmentalists on behalf of corporate interests. In the world according to Milloy, any scientific study that does not support the world view where all chemicals are safe is "junk science", all environmentalists are alarmist, and pollution and second hand smoke are harmless. The labels fly fast and furious, regardless of where the scientific mainstream falls on an issue and regardless of what point we are at in the scientific discovery process."
bulletPerspectives on right-wing and libertarian think-tanks,
bullet"[Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Web site, August 16, 1998] [T]his "sound science" coalition is supported by hundreds of corporations, including 3M, Amoco, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Motors, Occidental Petroleum, Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble and W.R. Grace. Its objective is to act as a speakers bureau to deliver the corporate message that environmental public policy is not currently based on "sound science," and to counter excessive regulations that are based on what it considers "junk" science. O’Dywer’s PR Services reports that TASSC is "leading the charge against what it views as the unholy alliance between environmentalists and the media" (Feb. 1996). "
bulletMedia susceptible to Sound Science spin
bullet 12/13/05 Fair and balanced reporting?

Other than for the headline, today's local news coverage of Granholms possible veto of HB4617, the story is entirely one sided with no input from the homeowners and the rest of the state that want the bill vetoed.   Recently (12/8, see story below), the local newspaper published an article about toxins in the Great Lakes and edited out a key paragraph about the human health effects of dioxin and other compounds.  This pattern was repeated on a local radio station which aired two interviews this morning.  The first segment was with an individual from Midland representing those few which favor Dow Chemical, the second was with Lone Tree Councils Terry Miller, representing the rest of us. The radio host was all warm and gushy with the Dow guy and virtually attacked Terry.  Click on the links below to listen to the Lone Tree radio broadcasts:

bulletTerry Miller, Lone Tree Council
bulletMichelle Hurd Riddick, Lone Tree Council
 
bullet 12/8/05 Report: Don't kid yourself - toxins persist in the Great Lakes.
bulletAll but one paragraph of this report was printed on front page (not on-line) by the local newspaper.
bulletBelow is the section the left out:
bullet"(The board cites) compelling evidence that contaminants we've known about for decades -- PCBs, dioxin and mercury -- are causing increased disease, reduced IQs and other serious health problems in humans," said Mike Magner, a researcher with the center. "On top of that, they warn that a host of other chemicals -- flame retardants, plastics additives and even cosmetics and health-care products -- may be compounding those problems"
bulletClick here for the complete article
 
bulletNPR bias
bulletLegislators jump in on dioxin issue
bulletResidents pack MCFTA to hear dioxin answers
bulletExample of "Sound Science" jargon slipping into local media reports
bulletExample of "Sound Science" jargon slipping into local media reports
bulletFraudulent and/or suspicious Health studies basis for Dioxin Sound Science?
bulletDioxin Health Study Fraud
bullet"Monsanto has in fact submitted false information to EPA which directly resulted in weakened regulations under RCRA and FIFRA since these regulations do not take into account tetrachlorinated dioxin contamination in trig, tetra, and pentachlorophenols, as well as 2,4-dichlorophenol and its phenoxy acetate (2,3-D, a currently used herbicide). In addition, Monsanto's failure to report dioxin contamination of the disinfectant in Lysol has prevented any ban or other alleviation of human exposures to dioxins in this product. "
bullet"The Monsanto human health studies have been submitted to EPA by Monsanto as part of public comments on proposed dioxin rules and Agency-wide dioxin health studies are continually relied upon by all offices of EPA to conclude that dioxins have not caused cancer or other health effects (other than chloracne) in humans. Thus, dioxin has been given a lesser carcinogenic potential ranking, which continues to be the basis of less stringent regulations and lesser degrees of environmental controls. The Monsanto studies in question also have been a key basis for denying compensation to Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their children suffering birth defects from such parental exposures."
bulletIndustry's "True Lies" - The politics behind the scientific debate on dioxin
bulletDow Chemical Midland Area Mortality studies (as posted on www.dioxinspin.com)
bulletMDEQ / ATSDR comments on Dow funded U of M "Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study 3/12/04
bulletGovernmental leaders behind Sound Science?
bulletThe End of Science
bulletAttacks on whistle blowers by Sound Science promoters
bulletSue 'em
bulletPunish the whistle blower
bulletTales of a whistle blower, William Sanjour, formerly of the EPA
bulletUniversity Research by Sound Science promoters
bulletDow Knowledge Factories, Are Michigan Universities defending Dow with silence?
bulletClick here to view a few of the Dow/University "Studies" underway in our area & follow the money.
 

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