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News from EOM

How conflicted corporate affiliates influence occupational and public health

Publication by Baur, Soskolne and Bero (2019, Environmental Health) brings attention to the undermining of occupational and environmental global public health through the insertion of “knowledge” through mechanisms of corporate malfeasance. Practices of corporate malfeasance include: 1. Contamination of editorial boards of peer-reviewed scientific journals with industry apologists resulting in the publication of poorly-designed research studies that produce biased results. 2. Interference with the activities of national regulatory bodies and international review panels and other independent organizations engaged in safeguarding occupational and public health. 3. Constructing roadblocks, e.g. by capitalizing on uncertainty to undermine scientific consensus for much-needed government regulations 4. Promotion of “causation” criteria that lack foundation and effectively block workers’ access to legal remedies for harms from occupational exposures 5. Violating standards of professional conduct by seducing reputable scientists with financial incentives that make them beholden to serve the corporate agenda.

How Corporate Influence Continues to Undermine the Public’s Health

Colin L. Soskolne and Xaver Baur
EUR. J. ONCOL.; Vol. 23, 2018
Objectivity requires the minimization and control of potential biases in the design and interpretation of scientific studies conducted to investigate linkages between exposures and outcomes. Unless the objectivity of science can be assured, the ability of science to advance knowledge in the pursuit of truth will be undermined. While several types of bias are typically controlled at the design stage of a scientific study, the role of influence from any of a number of sources, and with different motivations and intent, is only more recently being recognized for its role in derailing science. This negative influence not only affects the course of science in advancing knowledge, but also in delaying the ability of science to inform policy to prevent ill-effects and achieve justice for potential harms arising from delays caused through the casting of doubt about evidence. The greatest bias of this type comes from those with a vested interest in the outcome, most typically financially driven. To exemplify the problem in occupational and environmental health, we organized a scientific session at the Ramazzini Days in November 2018 entitled “Corporate Influence Threatens the Public Health”; the abstracts of the papers presented in this session appear on pages 121 of this issue.

Creation of a “world‑wide ecological problem" and the role of PCB Reassuring customers and government alike though questionable decision-making process

Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner point in their article (reference below): “Industrially produced chemicals have become an essential ingredient in virtually all of our lives. Our kitchens are filled with detergents; household sprays are made from a variety of solvents; our walls and floors are made of ‘vinyl’; our foods are packaged in wrappings made of clear plastics; our vegetables are grown with synthetic fertilizers and covered with pesticides; our computers, desks, and mechanical devices are filled with synthetic materials. It is not surprising that chemicals are in our bodies as well, where literally hundreds of chemicals have been identified”……” Scientists barely understand what long-term dangers these substances may present to human health and the environment. Some of these chemicals are especially worrisome“…….”Of special concern are a variety of chlorinated hydrocarbons, including DDT and other pesticides that were once spread freely………... Despite being banned decades ago, they have accumulated in the bones, brains, and fatty tissue of virtually all of us. Their close chemical carcinogenic cousins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), were found in innumerable household and consumer products—like carbonless copy paper, adhesives, paints, and electrical equipment—from the 1950s through the 1970s.”
The authors describe in their article the PCB story.
Monsanto, PCBs, and the creation of a "world-wide ecological problem" by Markowitz GRosner D in J Public Health Pol (2018) 39:463–540;