Epidemiology is the branch of medicine that studies the causes, distribution and prevention of diseases within various populations. It is to epidemiologists that the medical profession, lawmakers and the shapers of public policy turn when they need clarification of the underlying factors that trigger or predispose to disease. Epidemiology has been responsible for some of the most crucial and life-saving advances in public health.

However, the very importance of epidemiology makes it a prime target for the industrial giants whose products or manufacturing techniques are under suspicion as possibly contributing to diseases such as cancer. If they are to escape the imposition of restrictive controls or outright bans on their products, it is in their interest to minimize the impact of any potentially damaging epidemiological evidence.

This phenomenon was discussed in a paper titled "Secret ties to industry and conflicting interests in cancer research," published last month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The authors of the paper documented several instances of leading epidemiologists secretly acting as paid consultants to industry over extended periods during which those industries were under intense scrutiny as potential contributors to the incidence of cancer.

For example, the paper cites the case of Sir Richard Doll, one of the most famous epidemiologists and cancer researchers in the world, who died last year. One could hardly imagine a more eminent career. In 1950, Doll was one of the first to point out the clear link between cigarette smoking and the alarming rise in lung cancer. "The risk of developing the disease increases in proportion to the amount smoked," he wrote. "It may be 50 times as great among those who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day as among non-smokers." This was a revolutionary thesis at the time. But, like his US colleague and contemporary, Ernst Wynder, Doll not only directed his efforts toward making the medical profession aware of the lethal effects of smoking, he also made use of the media to explain the connection to the public. Through his groundbreaking work on tobacco and lung cancer Doll became a foundational figure in modern epidemiology and public health.

Before and after World War II, Doll was an influential member of the Socialist Medical Society, and made a name for himself as someone who was not afraid to indict industry for its contribution to the growing incidence of cancer. In 1954 he warned that, besides smoking, exposure to nickel, asbestos, gas production tars, and radioactivity were other major causes of cancer. In the following year, he published a landmark report warning about high cancer rates in asbestos workers. In 1967, he further warned that an "immense" number of substances were known to cause cancer, and that prevention was a better strategy than cure. Until the late sixties, he was still considered a political radical.

However, as the years passed, Doll mysteriously and sometimes drastically changed these views. According to Samuel S. Epstein, MD, Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the School of Public Health, University of Illinois, Chicago, the one-time maverick eventually emerged as a major defender of corporate industry interests. Using the immense prestige of his position, Doll was able to trivialize and dismiss numerous industrial causes of cancer, while focusing public and political attention on smoking as the prime offender.

Doll also published several influential papers that called into question other possible environmental causes of cancer. One of these was "The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today," published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1981, which he co-authored with his close colleague, Professor Richard Peto. Another paper, "Effects of exposure to vinyl chloride: an assessment of the evidence," was written by Doll alone. These and other publications massively downplayed the risks of environmental carcinogens in the food, air, water and workplace.

Doll's star continued to rise throughout his long life. Although he never received a Nobel Prize, he was inducted into the Royal Society in 1966, was appointed Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University in 1969, and received a knighthood in 1971. Oxford named a building after him while he was still living. When he died in July 2005, at the age of 92, he was lauded as a founder of British cancer science.

But Doll's reputation has now begun to fray, if not unravel entirely. The publication of the paper "Secret ties to industry and conflicting interests in cancer research" in the American Journal Industrial Medicine reveals that there was a hidden side to Doll's public career. Over a period of many years, Doll was secretly retained as a paid consultant by several giant international chemical companies at the same time that he was acting as an ostensibly impartial scientific expert to investigate and report on suspected links between these companies' products and the development of cancer.

For example, the industrial giant Monsanto paid Doll $1,500 per day as a consultant over a period of years during the 1980s. At that time, Monsanto was at the center of an intense debate concerning the carcinogenicity of its product, Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant that was widely used during the Vietnam war. Doll testified to an Australian Royal Commission investigating the claims of servicemen who were exposed to Agent Orange that there was no evidence to suggest that this product was carcinogenic. Yet in his publications and statements he consistently failed to disclose that he was a paid consultant for Monsanto.

With the full weight of Doll's iconic reputation behind the denial of any connection between Agent Orange and cancer, the Royal Commission concluded that the defoliant did not in fact represent a health hazard. Monsanto was thus able to escape responsibility for causing untold numbers of cancers both among servicemen and the indigenous Vietnamese population. Without Doll's help, it is doubtful if this egregious cover-up could have taken place.

Similarly, Doll was hired as a paid consultant throughout the 1990s by other major industrial companies including Dow Chemical, and Turner and Newall, manufacturers of the carcinogen asbestos. During this period he similarly gave testimony and depositions as an expert witness on behalf of chemical industry giants in a number of cases, including one brought by the families of deceased workers who claimed that their loved ones' brain cancers had been triggered by exposure to vinyl chloride. Once again, Doll failed to disclose his paid consultancy status, and neglected to declare any conflict of interest, while testifying to the effect that there was no evidence whatever that vinyl chloride contributed to brain cancer.

Again, his towering reputation won the day, even though a decade earlier, in 1979, vinyl chloride had already been recognized and classified as a Grade I human carcinogen.

The secret of Doll's financial entanglement with industry was finally brought to light by lawyers who cross-examined him on the evidence he had given on behalf of Dow and others, and drew attention to his failure to disclose these connections. In response to lawyers' questions about his lack of acknowledgement of financial interest, Doll disingenuously replied that he did not know that he should disclose these sources of income.

According to his present-day defenders, the money in question was passed along to Green College, a medical college that Doll helped found at Oxford. But this is a weak defense, since accepting honoraria of this size certainly makes one beholden to the giver, regardless of how altruistically such money is spent. Another argument raised in Doll's defense was that he did this consulting work before formal disclosure of commercial interests had become mandatory. But the principle that one should disclose one's financial and other biases was certainly widely accepted in the world of science long before it became a formal requirement of publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

According to his friend and close associate Richard Peto, Doll felt that it was necessary to co-operate with companies in order to gain access to data that could prove their products to be dangerous. Yet this explanation of Doll's behavior flies in the face of the evidence. True, Doll started out as a critic of industry, a position that took him to the pinnacles of the medical establishment. Once there, however, he became increasingly cozy with those he had formerly criticized and wound up as their defender. Far from speaking out on the hazards of industrial pollution, as Prof. Peto claims, Doll's persuasive words and unassailable professional reputation were used to downplay the dangers of chemical companies' products and manufacturing processes.

To be concluded, with references, next week.


A paper published last month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reveals several instances of leading epidemiologists secretly acting as paid consultants to industry while those same industries were under intense scrutiny as potential contributors to the rising incidence of cancer.

To read this week's newsletter, please click here or go to: http://www.cancerdecisions.com/121706.html


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Informant: Iris Atzmon


Moss site questions...12 06 by jcm...

Dear Anne: I am interested in learning about any work Dr. Moss may have done in regard to EMF/EMR (electromagnetic fields/electromagnetic radiation). I am not able to locate an email address for Dr. Moss on his website [ http://www.cancerdecisions.com ].

Specifically, I would like to know what Dr. Moss thinks about the fact the American Cancer Society used to mail literature re "prudent avoidance measures and EMF's" but no longer (to my knowledge) takes an active role in regard to "prevention.".

In 1994, the American Cancer Society sent me a copy of an article from "USA Today" that recommends moving electrical items away from close proximity to beds. Since Dr. Moss has been affiliated with the American Cancer Society, the Department of Energy as well as NIH, it surprises me that his work apparently does not involve advising persons that EMF's have been determined to be Class 2 B carcinogens.

As Dr. Gerald Goldberg (author of "Would You Put Your Head in a Microwave?" [ http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1604071/ ]) informed me after I described the situation surrounding my two grandsons who were diagnosed with rare immune deficiencies (precursors of Leukemia, Lymphoma and other cancers), when a person responds favorably to "an action," whether that be medication, application of heat/cold, rest/immobilization, manipulation/stimulation, surgery, radiation, etc., such action is considered to be "treatment."

"Treatment" in the case of my two grandsons occurred as result of moving their beds away from bedroom walls containing electric meters -- what I refer to as "powerwalls.".

One has to wonder why no doctor involved in my grandsons' cases elected to submit those facts for publication. One of the boys' doctors is an Immunologist who informed us that the chance of even one of our grandsons having the particular IgG subclass deficiency (low IgG subclasses 1 and 3 -- depicting "aging") was "infitismal." He did not have an additional comment after the second boy was identified as having the identical rare immune deficiency. Testing confirmed "no genetic link" and "environment" was suspected as being causal but the doctor was not willing to investigate further when he learned I had suspicions re EMF's from nearby high voltage powerlines. The boys are cousins who live in different cities.

The Immunologist did, however, send the boys' blood to EMF RAPID Researcher ("position" unknown to us), Dr. Fatih Uckun, at the University of Minnesota. When the NIH and DOD later helped Dr. Uckun set up the Wayne Hughes Institute (along with Wayne Hughes, billionnaire father of his son, Parker Hughes, who had been diagnosed with Leukemia), more blood from my grandsons was sent to Dr. Uckun at the Wayne Hughes Institute.

Dr. Uckun (Pediatric Oncologist at that time), to my knowledge, has never written about the rare diagnoses re my two grandsons and their subsequent "recovery" as result of reducing their EMF/EMR exposures. Dr. Uckun, is, however, an author of many other journal articles. Dr. Uckun has been heavily involved in EMF/EMR research for many years and has done a lot of work in conjunction with MRI evaluations, etc. . .

Due to "inaction" on the part of our government and various cancer societies, I decided to conduct guinea pig studies in my home -- exposing two sets of two guinea pigs each to our own bedroom wall on which an electric meter is mounted. The guinea pigs all developed severe neutropenia, lymphocytosis and "hypersegmented neutrophils" (markers for irradiation) -- precursors of Leukemia. One out of each set of two died in less than a month. One lived in our basement for an additional two years but succumbed to "Reactive Renal Amyloidosis" (a TSE-like problem -- "mad cow family of disease").

If Dr. Moss has done any investigations surrounding the level of "criminality" re the withholding of the EMF RAPID Interagency Committee Report from Congress, I would be most appreciative of receiving that information.

Have a wonderful "2007" and take care - Joanne .

Joanne C. Mueller Guinea Pigs R Us
731 - 123rd Avenue N.W. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55448-2127 USA Phone: 763-755-6114 Email: jcmpelican@aol.com (12-25-06 - On behalf of children everywhere!!!}

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?..." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"No substance is a poison by itself. It is the dose that makes a substance a poison..." Paracelsus (1493-1541)



Epidemiologists with secret ties to industry - Industry 'paid top cancer expert'



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